Most suicidal people exhibit warning signs. According to the American Association of Suicidology, a person who is suicidal:
- Talks about committing suicide
- Has trouble eating or sleeping
- Experiences drastic changes in behavior
- Withdraws from friends and/or social activities
- Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Prepares for death by making out a will and final arrangements
- Gives away prized possessions
- Has attempted suicide before
- Takes unnecessary risks
- Has had recent severe losses
- Is preoccupied with death and dying
- Loses interest in their personal appearance
- Increases their use of alcohol or drugs
Youth most prone to suicide may experience:
- Low self-esteem
- Perceived stress
- Family conflict
- Drug use
- Sexual activity at an early age
- Have easy access to a handgun
Know someone who is thinking of suicide? You can help them by:
- Being direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
- Being willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Being non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Getting involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Not daring him or her to do it.
- Not acting shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Not being sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
- Offering hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
- Taking action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
If you are experiencing any suicidal thoughts, you should seek help immediately. Call 1800-SUICIDE. There are SO many resources that can help you! If someone talks about suicide and asks you to keep it secret, be responsible and tell someone. Be a better friend by seeking help from a trustworthy adult.
Websites to Visit
Check out these websites for more information about suicide:
Suicide in Youth (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness):
- About 2 million U.S. adolescents attempt suicide each year; almost 700,000 receive medical attention for their attempt.
- 2.6% of students reported making a suicide attempt that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
- Each year in the U.S., about 2,000 youth complete suicide.
- Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among ages 15 to 24.
- More than 90% of youth suicide victims have at least one major psychiatric disorder.
Statistics – Suicide (Source: SADD):
- About 19% of high school students consider suicide.
- 15% of high school students make a plan to commit suicide.
- About 9% of high school students attempt suicide.
- Every 15 minutes a suicide occurs in the United States.
- Suicide has ranked among the 10 leading causes of death since 1975.
- For every two victims of homicide in the U.S. there are three deaths from suicide.
- Males ages 15 to 19 are five times as likely as females are to commit suicide.
- The strongest risk factors for suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse and aggressive behavior.