Suicide Prevention Awareness and Helping Those in Need

September is best known for back-to-school and the end of the summer season, but it’s also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicide continues to be a rampant problem here in the United States and abroad. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015, resulting in the death of more than 44,000 people. That’s why suicide prevention awareness is so critically important. If you have a friend or a family member that’s going through a difficult time, take a moment to learn about some common suicide warning signs and what you can do to help those in need.

What to Look for in a Person’s Behavior

When a person commits suicide, they often exhibit certain behavior patterns that stem from feelings of helplessness and despair. Keeping an eye out for these types of warning signs might help you prevent a worst-case scenario. If a person talks about being a burden to other people, taking their own life (even if it’s just a joke), or if they express some desire to put an end to negative feelings, they might be considering suicide. You also might notice the person drinking or using drugs more regularly, sleeping through most of the day, or withdrawing from their social life. The person might seem overly anxious, aggressive, depressed, or irritable. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should take action as soon as possible.

How to Help Those Considering Suicide

Even if you’re not sure whether a person is considering suicide, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Start by trying to have a conversation with the person in need. Reach out to them on a regular basis and try to include them in social activities as much as possible. Preventing suicide is not an individual concern – it takes a communal effort. Talk to your friends and family about the person in need. Together, everyone should do their part to make the person feel welcome.

Most people that commit suicide suffer from some kind of mental disorder. Instead of trying to decipher these warning signs or diagnosing the person yourself, you need to contact a professional for more information. You can try the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Don’t let these warning signs go unnoticed. If you’re worried about someone you know, err on the side of caution and take action immediately.