How To Help Your Friend Who Is Suicidal – Feeling hopeless, helpless, or depressed can cause extreme emotional pain and despair. Sometimes these feelings lead to thoughts of suicide, but it is important to let the person who has these thoughts know that there is help and hope. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, talk to a trusted adult or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “Begin” to 741-741.
Suicide rarely occurs without warning. As a colleague, you may be in the best position to recognize when a friend may need help and help them get it. You can see signs in person, hear about them secondhand, or see them online on social media. Never ignore these signs. Although suicide is usually associated with the pain of mental illness (especially depression and accompanying feelings of helplessness and hopelessness), there are sometimes specific situations that trigger suicidal actions, such as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, failing at school, being bullied, or experiencing abuse, loss or other trauma. It is important to learn these warning signs and what to do if you see them in yourself or a friend. Suicide is preventable. By listening, speaking and acting you can save lives.
How To Help Your Friend Who Is Suicidal
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How To Help A Friend Who May Be Suicidal
Parents and teachers are in a key position to recognize warning signs and get the youth the help they need. Between 1999 and 2016, the suicide rate increased by at least 6% in 49 out of 50 countries, with some countries showing an increase of up to 58%. In 2017, more than 47,000 people died by suicide in the United States.
Nebraska data mirrors the national trend. In 2016, the year of the Centers for Disease Control’s most recent report, suicide was the leading cause of death for people 10-14 years and the second cause of death for people 15-34 years (CDC National Vital Statistics System).
Among farmers, suicide rates are higher than in the general population. Factors contributing to increased pressure in the agricultural community include:
As the death toll from suicide continues to rise, Nebraskans must band together to help each other. Suicide is preventable and prevention starts with knowing what signs to look for and how to help.
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Learn to recognize the common signs when someone is experiencing too much stress in their life and the signs when that stress can turn into suicidal thoughts (see boxes).
It is important to remember that suicide is preventable and you can help! You can help someone in crisis get the care they need.
Figure 1. Nebraska regional behavioral health offices to contact for suicide prevention training opportunities. (Links to larger version.)
Also see Nebraska Extension’s newsletter, Staying Connected in Tough Times – Resources for Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers and their Families. It provides contact information for crisis services, as well as mediation services for financial departments.
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Suicide is the act of taking one’s life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of approximately 47,000 Americans each year.
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Suicidal behavior refers to speaking or taking actions related to ending one’s life. Suicidal thoughts and behavior should be considered a psychiatric emergency.
If you or someone you know is also exhibiting, you should seek help from a health care provider immediately.
You can’t see what a person is feeling inside, so it’s not always easy to recognize when someone is having suicidal thoughts. However, some outward warning signs that a person is considering suicide include:
It can feel scary, but taking action and getting help for someone who needs it can help prevent a suicide attempt or death.
Recognizing The Warning Signs Of Suicide
If you suspect that a family member or friend may be considering suicide, talk to them about your concerns. You can start the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
Make sure you don’t minimize their problems or try to shame them into changing their minds. Listening and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Offer to help them find a health care provider, make a phone call, or go with them to their first appointment.
It can be scary when someone you care about shows signs of suicide. But it is critical to act if you are in a position to help. Starting a conversation to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
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If you are worried and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis center or a suicide prevention center.
If you live in the United States, try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). They have trained advisors available 24/7. Stop Suicide Today is another helpful resource.
Befrienders Worldwide and the International Association for Suicide Prevention are two organizations that provide contact information for crisis centers outside the United States.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), if you notice someone doing any of the following, they should get treatment right away:
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There is usually no single reason why someone decides to take their own life. Several factors can increase the risk of suicide, such as a mental disorder.
Of all the people who die by suicide, there is no known mental illness at the time of their death.
Depression is the biggest risk factor for mental health, but others include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and personality disorders.
A health care provider may be able to determine if someone is at high risk for suicide based on their symptoms, personal history, and family history.
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They will want to know when the symptoms started and how often the person experiences them. They will also ask about past or present medical problems and certain conditions that may run in the family.
It can help
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