Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in our country. That is an overwhelming statistic that should cause us to pause for a moment and think about what we can do in response. I am sure most of us know individuals who struggle with self-doubt, self-esteem and depression. For some of us it is often difficult to help people who are feeling so down or overwhelmed with depression and guilt. There is a fear that by talking to them we will make it worse. But this is truly not the case! Those who suffer with depression and struggles with self-esteem need to know that they are important, loved and cared for. By reaching out to them, checking in on them and just giving them your time you can communicate that love and care.
September is Suicide Awareness Month, an important time for us to educate ourselves about the signs and warnings of suicide and how we should respond to those we feel may be suicidal.
Signs of Suicide:
* Verbal suicide threats
* Statement about wanting to die
* Previous suicide attempts
* Changes in behavior: Unusual withdrawal, aggression, moodiness, acting out
* Depression: Changes in appetite, crying, sleep patterns, hopelessness, lack of attention to personal hygiene, loss of energy, feeling unloved by family
* Physical complaints: Unusual physical complaints with no apparent medical basis
* Making final arrangements:Making a will, giving away valued possessions
* Sudden drop in school performance
* Substance abuse: Alcohol and other drug abuse appear to be linked to suicide
* Unusual purchases: Weapons, rope, or other lethal items
* Recent loss of a significant person or relationship: Divorce, death in the family, death of a close friend, breakup in romance, move of friend, or the anniversary of a loss
* Overly self-critical, feelings of failure
* Sudden or intense interest in religious beliefs and the afterlife
What you can do:
Be Present: Never leave someone you believe to be suicidal alone
Listen; Be supportive and encourage professional help.
Don't promise to keep secrets about self-harm
Don't be afraid to ask about his/her suicidal feelings. Explain that depression is temporary and that problems can be solved, even if they seem hopeless.
Never promise to keep a person's threats of suicide a secret.
Share your faith and love.
LCS is here to help. Please reach out if you have questions or concerns about yourself or someone you know.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1
Written By: Megan Miessler, LCSW