Statistics may prove a point but rarely do they tell the story. Especially with suicide.It is World Suicide Prevention Day this week and there are numerous statistics that show the extent of the problem – but the deep, never-ending pain felt by those affected by the loss of anyone who dies in this way can’t be underestimated or simply included in a number.
The closest I have personally been to suicide is learning that Gordon, someone I knew in my teens, chose to end his life in his thirties. However I have met many young people who have thought of suicide, have attempted suicide or have been impacted by someone they knew committing suicide. In every case the pain felt is huge and often leaves a question – why didn’t I see it coming? Suicide is incredibly difficult to predict but there are some risk factors and indicators. So in this post I want to give some of the indicators to look out for.
Listen carefully as they may well talk about wanting to die or to kill themself. Most people don’t actually want to end their life but rather they need to end their pain and see suicide as the only way to do that. They may also talk about feeling hopeless and not having a reason to live. Ancient wisdom says “we speak out of what is in our heart”.
Keep a eye on their online activity. If they start to search for ways to commit suicide, looking on eBay to buy a guy (for example) and discussing these things in online forms and communities.
Observe their lifestyle, particularly any changes that occur – changed sleeping patterns, eating habits, alcohol and drug use, withdrawing for their social networks, being more anxious, behaving more recklessly and mood swings.
If they seem to be doing things that could be tying up loose ends, making sure that loved ones and pets are cared for, giving away prized possessions, seeming to say goodbye then this is a major indicator.
Of course, any single one of these in isolation would probably mean you need to watch closer. If you notice a few then it could be time for you to check in with the person and/or with a professional. If you are concerned about your future, or know someone who may well be concerned about theirs then please do contact someone for help. In Australia call Lifeline today on 13 11 14.