We can all prevent suicides

Suicide is a severe public health issue that can affect individuals, families, and communities for a long time. The good news is that suicide is something that can be avoided. Suicide prevention necessitates initiatives at all levels of society. Individuals, families, and communities can all benefit from prevention and protection efforts. Learning the warning signs, fostering prevention and resilience, and committing to societal change can all assist to prevent suicide.

Suicide Warning Signs

  1. Suicide notesThese are a very real sign of danger and should ALWAYS be taken seriously.
  2. Threats. Threats may be direct statements (“I want to die.” “I am going to kill myself.”) or indirect comments (“The world would be better without me.” “Nobody will miss me anyway.”). Teenagers might make indirect threats by joking, comments in school assignments like particularly creative writing or artwork, or online through social media. Younger children and those who may have some delays in their development may not be able to express their feelings in words, but may provide indirect clues in the form of acting-out through violent behavior.
  3. Previous attempts. If someone has attempted suicide in the past, they are more likely to try again. Be very observant of any friends who have tried suicide before (especially those who have recently attempted suicide).
  4. Depression. When symptoms of depression include strong thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness, a child or adolescent is possibly at greater risk for suicide. Watch out for behaviors, comments or posts that indicate that your friend is feeling overwhelmed by sadness or pessimistic views of their future.
  5. “Masked” depression. Sometimes risk-taking behaviors can include acts of aggression, gunplay, and alcohol/substance abuse. While your friend may not act “depressed,” their behavior can suggest that they do not care about their own safety.
  6. Final arrangements. This behavior may take many forms. In adolescents, it might be saying goodbye to friends, giving away prized possessions, or deleting profiles, pictures or posts online.
  7. Hurting oneself. Self-injury behaviors are warning signs for young children as well as teenagers. Common self-destructive behaviors include running into traffic, jumping from heights, and scratching/cutting/marking the body.
  8. Inability to concentrate or think clearly. If a friend is going through tough times, this may be reflected through classroom behavior, homework habits, academic performance, household chores, or even conversation. If they start skipping classes, getting poor grades, acting up in class, forgetting or poorly performing chores around the house or talking in a way that suggests they are having trouble concentrating, these might be signs of stress and risk for suicide.
  9. Dramatic Changes. Parents, teachers and friends are often the best observers of sudden changes in suicidal students. Changes can include withdrawing from friends and family, skipping school or classes, becoming less involved in activities that were once important, avoiding others, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, sudden weight gain or loss, disinterest in appearance or hygiene. Sudden unexplained happiness (after a prolonged period of sadness) can also be a suicide warning sign.
  10. Plan/method/access. A suicidal child or adolescent may show an increased interest in guns and other weapons, may seem to have increased access to guns, pills, etc., and/or may talk about or hint at a suicide plan. The greater the planning, the greater the potential for suicide.

Is There Anything You Can Do to Assist a Friend?

Be aware of the warning indicators! Take a look at the list above and save it somewhere safe. Do not be hesitant to speak with your pals. Pay attention to their emotions. Make sure they understand how important they are to you, but don’t expect yourself to be able to prevent them from hurting themselves. Adults will be required to assist in the prevention of suicide. Make no agreements. Never keep a friend’s suicidal plans or ideas to yourself. You can’t swear you won’t tell—you’ll have to tell in order to save your pal! Inform an adult. Speak to a trusted adult, such as your parent, a friend’s parent, or the school’s psychologist or counsellor. Don’t put it off! Don’t worry if the adults don’t believe you or don’t take you seriously—just keep talking until they do! Talk to someone, even if you’re not convinced your friend is suicidal.

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