Suicidality

   If you have come to this page for yourself, we recognize that you may be in a very painful or distressing situation and in that pain you have just taken a step toward being a survivor by coming here for information. People who have thoughts of killing or harming themselves may be feeling backed into a corner by thoughts, feelings, or a situation and may feel they have no other option. It may sound cliché and desperately hard to see now, but there is hope. The fact that you are reading this says that somewhere within you, you want to find an alternative solution to the pain or problem that is overwhelming you. It may seem small, but recognizing that you are having a problem and then seeking help takes incredible strength and humility. It is the most important step in healing and often the hardest, and here you are!

      Here you can learn more about general information and warning signs of suicidality, how to reach out, how to reduce the chance of harm to yourself while having suicidal feelings, and a variety of resources that can help you overcome your pain. There is also information for your friends, family and loved ones. For people reading this page because you fear someone you love may be feeling suicidal, you can find information here as well. If you are having thoughts of harming or killing yourself, reach out to a friend, family member, trusted adult or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to confidentially speak to a counselor.  If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or somebody else or fear that a loved one is in immediate danger please call 911.

What is Suicidality?
Suicidality is a state of being where a person is having thoughts about harming or killing themselves, or planning or participating in behaviors with the intent to harm themselves or take their own lives. Suicidal action, however, can be preventable if you know what to look and listen for and how to respond accordingly. Suicidal tendencies can occur comorbidly with unmanaged/mismanaged mental illnesses and in people who are experiencing a crisis but do not have mental illnesses. Stigma associated with suicide and mental illnesses can be an obstacle to reaching out for help, further isolating the person who is suffering and at risk. This means it is much more important to learn how to listen when people aren’t speaking and be a beacon of calm, attentive non-judgement because most people who act on suicidal thoughts do show warning signs or cry for help. Most suicidal people do not actually want to die. The pain they are feeling or gravity of the crisis they are experiencing may outweigh the tools they have to cope with that pain or crisis, so they may feel backed into a corner and see suicide as the only way out. 

Suicidal Symptoms
  • Always talking or thinking about death

  • Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse

  • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights

  • Losing interest in things one used to care about

  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless

  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will

  • Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"

  • Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy. This is rooted in feeling relief over creating a plan to attempt suicide -- i.e. their suffering will be over soon. 

  • Talking about suicide or killing one's self

  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

Who is at Risk? 

Teenagers and young adults aged 15-24 are at highest risk of attempting suicide of any demographic. Females are at greater risk of attempting suicide than males, but males make up the tragic majority of completed suicides. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth are at a risk of attempt, ideation, and completion disproportionate to their peers. There are rough estimates that one in five adolescents and young adults will experience at some point either seriously consider suicide or make a plan. Adolescents and young adults are at a higher risk because they are higher risk takers, more impulsive, and still learning how to cope with life stress, adversity, and trying to transition into the role of modern adulthood. The expectations placed on adolescents and young adults today are incredibly high, and with higher pressures, expectations and exposure to adversity, teenagers and young adults need to learn about and develop outlets and coping mechanisms that are proportionate to these stressors, but many do not have them. People who struggle with substance abuse and chronic mental illnesses and pain conditions are also at a higher risk, but that does not mean suicidal action is inevitable.

Tips for Harm Reduction During Suicidal Ideation:
Many people who suffer from chronic depression and are prone to suicidal ideation/have made past attempts put safety plans in place. 

 

  • Remove means from your dwelling space (guns, knives, razors, pills)

  • Have friends, family and professionals ready to call

  • Make a plan to check in with “safe people”

  • Make a promise to yourself and a friend to separate action from thought, creating goals of making it through five minutes, thirty minutes, hours, days, etc. without acting on thoughts. Breaking this into smaller chunks of time can make it easier/more bearable

  • Keep busy, spend time with people, as much as you may not want to

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