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Each year, over 47,000 Americans die from suicide, making it the tenth-leading cause of death in the country. A complicated, tragic and emotional subject, suicide is oftentimes preventable. By knowing the warning signs and when to get someone—or yourself—help, you can help to save lives.
“It’s on each and every one of us to do our part in educating ourselves about suicide prevention,” said Susan Speranza, LCSW, Administrative Director of Behavioral Health Services at Inspira Health. “Because we simply never know when we may be needed to help.”
Signs and Symptoms
Those who die by suicide often exhibit different signs that they’re contemplating suicide. If you’re able to recognize these signs, you can help to intervene.
“Many of the warning signs are similar across the board,” said Speranza. “The better we are at recognizing them, the more lives we can save.”
Here are some of the most common signs, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills or buying a gun
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Acting anxious or agitated
Suicide doesn’t discriminate. People of any age, race, gender or religion can be at risk of suicide, which is why it’s so important to recognize any risk factors that someone might have.
“While suicide can affect anyone, there happens to be common traits that are found in most people who commit—or report having thoughts of—suicide,” said Susan Speranza.
Here are some of the most common risk factors:
- Depression, other mental disorders or substance abuse disorder
- Certain medical conditions
- Chronic pain
- A prior suicide attempt
- Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Having recently been released from prison or jail
If you or a loved one are having thoughts of committing suicide, there are resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can offer immediate help.
Inspira Health offers comprehensive behavioral health services for children, adolescents and adults - visit our Behavioral & Mental Health Services page for more information.