What you need to know about suicide
Given last week’s tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, talking about suicide or why people die by suicide can be often difficult topic to discuss amongst loved ones and friends. People have all types of reactions and beliefs about suicide, but it is important to note helping someone who is truly struggling can make all the difference in a person’s life. For example according to the Center for disease Control, suicide has increased more than 30% since 1999.
In 2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death among all Oregonians aged 15 to 34 years and the eighth leading cause of death among all Oregonians in 2012.*
Suicide is preventable but we often have to know what questions to ask and what warning signs to look for. Below are some signs to look for and what questions to ask when someone is struggling:
Hopelessness, lack of purpose in life, feeling trapped or feeling like a burden, increased drug use, risky behavior, anxiety, agitation, rage, seeking revenge, isolating from people, extreme mood swings, sleeping too little or too much, and emotional blunting.
Also, here are some questions to ask someone who you think might be at risk:
- Have you been more sad lately?
- Do you ever wish you could escape and never come back?
- Do you feel like giving up and not talking to anyone?
- Has anyone notice a difference with your behavior or mood lately?
- Sometimes when people are really sad they wish they were dead…. Do you ever have these thoughts?
It is important to follow up these questions with one’s that guide the person to get help. Here are some examples:
- Will you go with me to get help?
- Is it okay if I walk/drive over to ________ with you?
- What would it take for us to go/call _________?
You do not need to be a mental health expert or a therapist to help someone who is suicidal. Listening, providing emotional support, and directing them to the appropriate resources can make all the differences in one’s life.
Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7: 800-273-TALK and the LGBTQ Suicide Hotline: 866-488-7386.
*Data form the Oregon Heath authority.