THIS POST IS PART OF A WEEK-LONG SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK SERIES. IF YOU ARE, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS, IN DISTRESS, PLEASE CONTACT 911 OR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255
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Some people are more at risk for suicide than others. According to the National Alliance For Mental Illness, factors that increase this risk include:
- A family history of suicide
- Substance abuse
- Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
- More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
- Access to firearms
- A serious or chronic medical illness
- Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
- A history of trauma or abuse
- Prolonged stress
- People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
- A recent tragedy or loss
- Agitation and sleep deprivation
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But how can we tell if a person is actually suicidal? The best way to know, of course, is to ask. In addition, however, many individuals exhibit warning signs. According to multiple sources including a 2006 study cited by Mental Health First Aid USA, suicide warning signs include:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
- Seeking access to means
- including pills or weapons
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
- Including in young people’s schoolwork, creative writing, and artwork
- Expressing hopelessness, a lack of purpose, or no reason for living
- Exhibiting anger or rage, or seeking revenge
- Engaging in risky or reckless activities
- Feeling trapped
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Being increasingly anxious or agitated
- Giving away prized possessions
- Having a dramatic change in mood
- This may include a large shift from sad or depressed to happy due to having come to the resolution to kill oneself.
Check back tomorrow for a post about how to start the conversation and ask the question!