Health & Wellness Articles

Preventing Depression-Related Suicide

Separate the Myths from the Facts

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Common suicide warning signs include:
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide
  • Talking about suicide, death or dying
  • Talking about how friends and loved ones would be better off without them
  • Making a plan to commit suicide
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness and anxiety
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Increased withdrawal from friends, family and activities
If someone you know is exhibiting any of these warning signs, act immediately.

How to Help
Suicide is preventable. Follow the steps below to help a person who shows warning signs for suicide.
  1. Show the person that you are concerned about him by listening without judgment and asking him about his feelings. Encourage the person to continue talking.
  2. Don’t act shocked. This only causes further stress in a suicidal person.
  3. Avoid trying to come up with a solution to his problem. It is probably much more complex than you realize. Instead, get help from a qualified mental health professional who is trained to handle these situations.
  4. Address the issue of suicide directly by saying something like, “Are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?” If their response is yes, probe further. Ask if he's thought about how he would do it, if he has what he needs to carry out the plan, and if he has a day or time in mind.
If he answers "yes" to any of the above questions (or you think his answers indicate a plan for suicide), get help immediately by calling any of the following 24-hour response hotlines:
  • 911 (or your local emergency number)
  • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
  • 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
If you are unsure about whether or not to get help, then get help. Do not handle this situation alone or without professional assistance. And while waiting for help, do not leave the person’s side, even for a second. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.

For more information about helping a suicidal person, visit www.suicide.org.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

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