– Suicides among young people nationwide have increased dramatically in recent years.
– Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds.
– Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death for 5 to 14 year olds!
– Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable.
(Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem)
Signs of possible suicidal tendencies.
– Change in eating and sleeping patterns.
– Withdrawal from friends, family and regular activities.
– Depression: Broadly speaking; not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness such as clinical depression but depression indicated by signs such as: sadness, hopelessness, irritability and loss of interest in usual activities..
– Loss of energy
– Changes in appetite, weight, behavior, activity levels or sleep patterns.
– Talking, writing or hinting about suicide
– Recurring suicidal thoughts or fantasies.
– Previous Attempts
– Violent actions, rebellious behavior or running away
– Drug and alcohol abuse or use.
– Unusual neglect of personal appearance.
– Marked personality changes.
– Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or decline in the quality of schoolwork.
– Frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
– Loss of interest in pleasurable events.
– Not tolerating praise or rewards.
– Complaints of being “rotten inside”.
– Giving verbal hints with statements such as “I won’t be a problem for you much longer”, “noting matters”, “It’s no use”, “I won’t see you again”.
– Put his or her affairs in order– for example, giving away favorite possessions, cleaning his/her room, throwing away important belongings…etc
– Becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression.
– “Clearing the air” over personal incidents in the past.
– Sudden intense interest in personal wills or life insurance.
Why do people attempt suicide?
People usually attempt suicide to block unbearable emotional pain, which is caused by a wide variety of problems. It is often a cry for help. A person attempting suicide is often so depressed that they are unable to see that they have other options: We can help prevent a tragedy by endeavoring to understand how they feel and helping them to look for better choices that they could make. Suicidal people often feel terribly isolated, because they distrust, they may not think of anyone they can turn to …… which furthers the isolation.
*Significant changes in:
– Well being of self of family members
– Body image
– Job, school, university, home, locality
– Financial situation
– World environment
*Significant losses in:
– Death of a loved one- Loss of a valued relationship
– Loss of self-esteem or personal expectations
– Loss of employment
What can be done?
Suicidal people, like all of us, need love, understanding and care.
People usually don’t ask “are you feeling so bad that you’re thinking about suicide?” directly. Those contemplating suicide are usually holding in these feelings which will make the thoughts stronger and increases the feelings of isolation and increases the likelihood that they may actually make the attempt.
Asking if they are feeling suicidal opens the door for them and can have the effect that they are given the permission to feel the way they do….which reduces their isolation and they may feel that someone is actually listening and cares and can understand how they are feeling.
If someone you know tells you that they feel suicidal, above all…LISTEN to them. Then listen some more. Tell them “I don’t want you to die”. Try to make yourself available to hear about how they feel, and try to form a “no-suicide contract” with them. Ask them to promise you that they won’t attempt suicide or anything that would be self destructive until they can contact you or someone else who can give them some support.
Some who may be able to help could be: a doctor, community health center, counselor, psychologist, social worker, youth pastor, youth worker, minister….etc. If they appear acutely suicidal and won’t talk, you may need to get them to a hospital emergency department or tell an adult you can trust.
The effects of Suicide on those left behind
Suicide is often extremely traumatic for the friends and family members that remain (the survivors), even though people who attempt suicide often think that no-one cares about them. In addition to the feelings of grief normally associated with a person’s death, there may be guilt, anger, resentment, remorse, confusion and great distress over unresolved issues. The stigma surrounding suicide can make it extremely difficult for survivors to deal with their grief and can cause them also to feel terribly isolated.
Survivors often find that people relate differently to them after the suicide, and may be very reluctant to talk about what has happened for fear of condemnation. They often feel like a failure because someone they cared so much about has chosen to commit suicide, and may also be fearful of forming any new relationships or renewing a relationship with someone who has tried to commit suicide.
Could this be YOU?
It’s quite likely that some people that read this will one day attempt suicide, so here’s a quick suicide prevention exercise: Think of a list of 5 people who you might talk to if you had no-one else to turn to, starting with the most preferred person at the top of the list. Form a “no-suicide contract” with yourself…. promising that if you ever feel suicidal you will go to each of the people on the list in turn. And that you will tell them how you feel; and that if someone didn’t listen, you’ll just keep going until you find someone that will. Many who attempt suicide are so distressed that they can’t see anywhere to turn in the midst of a crisis, so having thought beforehand and having a list of people to turn to with a plan of action could be of great help!