by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 19, 2019 preventing suicide, signs of suicide0 comments
These are The Signs of Suicide You Should Know to Save a Life; By Melissa Howard
Suicide is not just a minor issue; it is a public health crisis. While medications and lifestyle changes can help prevent other health hazards, suicide can be much harder to recognize and treat. The actual act of suicide can be a split-second decision but the thoughts that lead to this tragedy tend to build off of experiences, mental health issues and all too often, addiction. Since suicide involved internal thoughts and emotions, rather than acute physical symptoms it’s vital to be aware of the following information when trying to prevent suicides.
Suicide signs can be hard to spot…
There are many warning signs of suicidal ideation and indicators that someone may be thinking about causing themselves harm. Some of these signs manifest in speech or outward actions, while others are subtle. This can make the latter signs difficult to discern, especially when they present on their own. Individually these signs might be meaningless, but when more than one sign is combined they can quickly escalate into someone actually attempting a suicidal act.
Dialogue can be a warning of suicide too…
Sometimes, words are the most powerful indicator that something is going terribly wrong with someone you love and know. The most glaring example of these spoken suicide signs is talking about committing suicide or some form of self-harm. Even statements that might be laced with sarcasm should be looked into as potential threats. In addition to these red flags, someone who
Describes themselves as hopeless or who constantly seems to be speaking with despair may be thinking of committing a suicidal act. You may also hear a loved one state that they are a burden to others. Such a statement, or saying that the world would be better off without you are announcements of suicidal thought, and should be addressed.
Actions can foreshadow suicide as well…
If you are concerned that a family member or household member is thinking about suicide, reviewing their web search history may help. If you see that person has been trying to learn about suicide methods, that’s a clear sign that they are seriously thinking about taking their own life. Aside from searching for this information, individuals who are distressed may also begin to withdraw from relationships and activities. If the same person begins to give away prized possessions, know that it is time to reach out for professional help.
Addiction is often linked to suicidal thoughts and actions…
An additional and crucial suicide warning sign that warrants further discussion is substance abuse. Substance abuse can be a source as well as a means for suicidal acts. Overdoses are often considered as the culmination of substance abuse disorders, but they may be deliberate in certain cases.
Addiction is connected to suicide through anxiety and depression. Someone who is afflicted with anxiety or depression will try to alleviate these feelings through a variety of self-administered therapies. But when these mental health disorders are self-treated with drugs and alcohol instead of with professional help, people tend to get caught in a downward spiral that drives them to want to take their own life.
Professional help can prevent suicides and provide real relief…
When you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, getting immediate help can be a matter of life and death. If you have untreated mental health issues, you should know that help is available. Treatment options are readily available to safely manage depression and anxiety in a way that allows you to function. If you are having problems with substance abuse too, there are rehabilitation programs and treatments that can help you take back control of your life. When seeking treatment options, look for licensed clinical social workers. These professionals are trained to diagnose and treat problems related to mental health, including substance abuse and psychosocial problems. They most likely earned their license by completing Master of Social Work programs at a U.S. university. These programs typically require as much as 1,200 hours of work in the field.
Being aware of the signs of suicide, whether subtle or pronounced, is a crucial first step in preventing more people from committing this tragic act. If you recognize these signs in someone you love, or even in yourself, please reach out for help. Call a hotline, call a friend, seek counseling, or just go to the nearest emergency room. However you get help, know that your life matters and you are not alone, and let those in your life who may be in danger know this as well.
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by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 8, 2018 Anthony Bourdain suicide, kate spade suicide, mental health awareness, suicide, suicide prevention, suicide warning signs0 comments
With the suicide of two Hollywood Stars this week, both Kate Spade fashion designer, and beloved Anthony Bourdain, American chef and champion of human rights, we at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh wish to express our condolences to the families, friends, and all of those effected by these tragic losses. According to the National Institute of Health, suicide rates are rising, 40,000 people will die by suicide each year. As a nation, and as people who want to help, we should think about the signs, symptoms, and behaviors of the people around us so that we can do our best in having awareness to prevent suicide. Suicide is a topic which holds personal importance to me, many years ago, when I was an undergraduate student studying psychology, my boyfriend attempted suicide in my bed by placing a bullet into his brain, after months in a coma, he was lucky enough to survive. Yet the act was one which was shocking for all of his friends, his family, and something that impacted me to this day. As a woman who has devoted herself to studying and working in the mental health field, at the time, I did not see the signs that my boyfriend was suicidal.
Suicide is a taboo topic and product of dismal and ill mental health; major depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia, are a few of the disorders which are typically associated with an increased risk for suicide. For those who are closest to someone suffering from mental health disorders, the symptoms are very difficult to see for what they are. The thoughts, behaviors, and feelings of a depressed person are a set of treatable symptoms which are a produced by mental illness. Our science and psychology hold diagnostic labels but for the human beings who act out suicide, these symptoms are a daily life experience, they are much more than a label. Mental illness is an often invisible disease causing people to suffer immensely, those who are in the depths of depression or other mental illness, often have not sought treatment with a therapist or mental health professional. A person may walk through life for many years, hollow and bleak, no longer able to experience the hope or purpose to continue living. They may become so overwhelmed that they can no longer imagine the purpose of surviving more days while struggling with their feelings of despair, sadness, conflict, and internal pain. Often the person who commits suicide is one whose self-esteem and thoughts have entered a place of such distortion that they imagine the people who survive them will be better off without them in their lives. Again, this kind of thinking is a product of the illness. Please spend a few moments looking over the suicide warning signs according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- Isolating themselves.
- Not returning phone calls.
- Not showing up for family or friends invitations.
- Being withdrawn.
- Giving away possessions.
- Sleeping too much.
- Sleeping too little.
- Using substances to excess.
- Talking about suicide. *Especially sharing that they have a plan and a way to carry it out.
- Saying that friends and family would be better off without them.
- Feeling like a burden.
- Feeling hopeless.
- Feeling that there is no reason to live.
- Talking about deep feelings of depression or anxiety.
- Sudden increase in mood or energy
Environmental Risk Factors
- Relationship problems.
- Financial problems.
- Having access to lethal means such as pills or guns.
- Prolonged stress.
If this sounds like someone you know, or if you have been feeling these things recently, please seek help. Call your local crisis center, here is a number for a national suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK. Remember that the emotions are temporary and life’s situations which overwhelm us are solvable. Mental health help is around the corner. If your loved one has expressed these things to you, or is exhibiting some of the warning signs, stay with them, ask questions and let them talk about their worries and problems, your presence will help, listen with patience and compassion and be with them while calling the suicide prevention hotline or getting them to a local hospital.
In love and life,
Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC
Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh
830 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh Pa, 15233
2539 Monroeville BLVD
Monroeville Pa, 15146.
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