How You Can Help Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Suicide is considered to be one of the leading causes of death in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were 745 deaths due to suicide in the year of 2016.
Many of us probably know or know of someone who has committed or attempted suicide, and we know how painful that is for everyone involved. However, many of us probably don’t know what we can do to help those close to us who are struggling with depression and have become suicidal.
In order to help someone, we must first be able to identify some of the early warning signs of suicide. Below are 13 early signs someone may be suicidal; you can read more about each one here.
- Suicidal Talk – asks for your opinion and talks about suicide with you.
- Changes to Their Will – creates or makes changes to their will and/or talking to you about what they would put in their will.
- Giving Away Their Possessions – gives away expensive items or things they may need in the future and/or gives away things they won’t need when they die.
- Obtaining a Weapon – paired with these other signs, obtaining a weapon may be a red flag.
- Strange Sleeping Patterns – feels tired more often or can’t fall asleep at night.
- Low Energy – indicates they may be suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts.
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse – sometimes used to escape from their reality or to give them the willpower to take their own life.
- Low Motivation for Their Social Life – isolates themselves or a may cutoff family and friends, thinking they aren’t good enough.
- Self Harm – may see physical pain as a good way to escape from their emotional pain.
- Risky Behavior – may take more risk, such as picking fights or driving recklessly.
- Past Suicide Attempts – also known as suicide tendencies.
- Body Language – slumped shoulders, staring at the ground, and/or unwillingness to make eye contact.
- Happiness and Calmness – when at their lowest point, they will lack the energy to plan/carryout a suicide attempt; therefore, suicide attempts most often occur when they are just above their lowest point. They may even appear happy and calm, as they feel the pain will be over soon once they carryout their suicide plan.
Now that you know the signs indicating someone may be suicidal, what can you do to help? There are many resources for both the person experiencing the suicidal thoughts and for their friends and families. Here are some resources for those experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255; available 24/7.
- Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 to text with a trained Crisis Counselor; available 24/7.
- Mental Health Mobile Crisis Teams: For Children’s Crisis Response Teams by county, click here. For Adult Crisis Response Teams by county, click here. For general information about Crisis Response Teams, click here.
- Begin seeing an outpatient therapist and/or enroll in a Day Treatment Program, attend support groups, or be admitted for inpatient treatment to help learn ways to cope with depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
- If you or someone you know is in imminent or immediate danger, go to an emergency room or call 9-1-1.
Depression and suicidal thoughts are difficult for us and our loved ones to talk about. Sometimes, it is helpful to talk to people outside your personal life, as their help and assistance will be unbiased and non-judgement forming. At the same, in order to positively cope, it is helpful to have a trusted community with whom you can confide in throughout your life, i.e. friends and family. One of the most important things is for you to know that you are not alone and that there are people who are ready and willing to help you with some of life’s toughest challenges.