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Suicide Prevention Week: Know the Signs by Lauren Christiansen

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Photo credit: Pexels

From September 6-September 12, the United States holds an annual week-long campaign to inform the public and engage with health professionals in regards to suicide prevention. Suicide is a devastating, traumatic event that affects entire families and communities. Learning to recognize some red flags in those struggling with mental health issues can help prevent suicide and promote early treatment. Here are the top signs to watch for.

1. Increased Drug or Alcohol Use

Many people suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues struggle with addiction or problem drinking.

2. Talking About Suicide

If a loved one talks about wanting to die, or if he/she finds comfort in the thought of dying, please contact help immediately.

3. Uncontrolled Anger

If a loved one is overly angry, irritable, prone to outbursts, or quick to react, this may be a sign that he/she has suicidal tendencies. If the person does not have any other symptoms, then he/she may just be struggling from anger management problems. It is best to ask an expert.

4. Feeling Hopeless/Trapped

Those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts tend to feel hopeless and trapped in their own life. They feel as though there is no way to get better and that their suffering is permanent.

5. No Purpose

If a loved one has stopped seeing friends, is no longer working, or has refrained from participating in any social activities he/she once enjoyed, it may be a warning sign.

6. Severe Depression

If a loved one is struggling with severe depression that has interfered with his/her everyday life, this is something to watch for.

7. Neglecting Doctor’s Orders

Suicidal or severely depressed individuals tend to stop going to doctors, or ignore advice from therapists and physicians all together.

8. Looking for Means of Self-Harm

Act if a loved one has recently looked into self-harm methods online, or asked about them in person. This includes looking up information on cutting or trying to stockpile medication.

9. Getting Affairs in Order

Older people tend to get their affairs in order, and it’s nothing to be concerned with. But if a loved one seems to be concerned with getting his/her affairs in order out of nowhere and that person suffers from depression, this is something to watch for.

10. Changes in Sleep

Those struggling with severe mental health issues tend to experience difficulties sleeping. If a loved one is sleeping too much or too little, please take note.

It is important to note that many individuals can have one or more of these symptoms and not be suicidal. It is up to family members, friends, and healthcare professionals to determine whether the warning symptoms are severe enough to merit concern. Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry, and intervening now can help someone before it’s too late. Suicide is very serious, so be sure to talk with a trained expert if you have any suspicions.

Are you feeling hopeless? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.

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