Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Risk factors include mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse, including alcoholism and use of benzodiazepines. Other suicides are impulsive acts due to stress such as from financial difficulties, hardships, troubles with relationships, result of domestic, violence, or from bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at higher risk for future attempts.

Sometimes, when someone is having a hard time, they may consider harming themselves or taking their own life.

Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness, not necessarily a mental health issue. Many people living with mental health issues aren’t suicidal, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental health issue.

When someone talks about harming themselves or suicide, they’re usually saying 'I’m not coping right now' or 'I need some help'. They may harm themselves because they want to stop or release some of the unbearable pain they’re experiencing.

Things to look out for:

We can all play a role in preventing suicide by looking out for possible warning signs, reaching out and talking about it. Someone who is thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to people around them, even though these might be subtle. Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously.

Warning signs might include:

  • A sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future.
  • Isolation or feeling alone – “No one understands me”.
  • Aggressiveness and irritability – “Leave me alone”.
  • Possessing lethal means – medication, weapons.
  • Negative view of self – “I'm worthless”.
  • Drastic changes in mood and behaviour.
  • Frequently talking about death – “If I died would you miss me?”.
  • Self-harming behaviours like cutting.
  • Risk-taking behaviours – “I’ll try anything, I’m not afraid to die".
  • Making funeral arrangements.
  • Giving things away (clothes, expensive gifts) – “When I'm gone, I want you to have this”.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Feeling like a burden to others – “You'd be better off without me”.
  • Talking about suicide – “Sometimes I feel like I just want to die”.

Reasons for suicidal feelings

There are many reasons why someone considers suicide, which can be quite complex, but there are certain indications that may help us determine whether a person could be at risk of suicide.

Suicidal behaviour results from a complex interaction between a wide variety of risk factors, immediate triggers and a lack of protective factors.

There are certain indications that may help us determine whether a person may be at risk of suicide.

Defining risk and protective factors

The reasons that people take their own lives are often very complex. Factors influencing whether someone is likely to be suicidal include:

Risk factors – sometimes called vulnerability factors, these factors increase the likelihood of suicidal behaviour.

Protective factors – these reduce the likelihood of suicidal behaviour, and work to improve a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances.

Risk and protective factors can occur:

  • At an individual or personal level. This includes mental and physical health, self-esteem, and ability to deal with difficult circumstances, manage emotions, or cope with stress
  • At a social level. This includes relationships and involvement with others such as family, friends, workmates, the wider community and the person’s sense of belonging
  • At a contextual level. This is also known as a person's broader life environment. This includes cultural, environmental, spiritual, religious, political and economic factors that all contribute to available options and quality of life.

Suicide Risk factors

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of mental health conditions – depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD
  • Relationship problems – conflict with parents and / or romantic partners
  • Legal or disciplinary problems
  • Access to harmful means, such as medication or weapons
  • Recent death or suicide of a family member or a close friend
  • Ongoing exposure to bullying behaviour
  • Physical illness or disability.

If you or someone you know is having symptoms of Depression, immediately seek health care. You can find MHA Champions Care Providers below:

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