There are many definitions to suicide. Some call it the easy way out to your problem. The others claim it to be a horrific act of taking your own life which is unfortunately of common occurrence. Every 40 second someone dies of suicide. That’s approximately 1 million people a year!
Perhaps you or someone you know has attempted suicide. Whatever your experience with suicide may be, it is highly important to acknowledge suicidal behaviour. Also, it is important to remember not ever person will show signs of being suicidal and spotting one or two of the signs mentioned below does not also conclude the person as suicidal.
The idea is to analyse the person if you spot these signs in them and be there as a friend or find professional help!
1) Talks regarding killing oneself
Questions regarding suicide or phrases like, “have you ever thought about killing yourself?’ or “What are your thoughts on suicide?” may suggest they are considering it. They talk about it because they want your opinion or advice regarding it. They will not admit to the fact when questioned but indirectly it’s their way of asking for help and you need to act immediately.
2) Discarding/ giving away their favorite things.
Suicidal people tend to give away materialistic and expensive things they need the most. Giving away priced possessions may be a sort of their coping mechanism to show that they care about their loved ones and helps them understand, they will have things taken care of after their death.
3) They write their will or make changes to it
Sometimes life altering or triggering events can get someone to make changes to their will or even write a new one – such as marriage, kids, illness, ect. If a person writes a will out of the blue, chances are they are foreseeing something you aren’t and it’s time to sit them down and have a talk.
4) Sleeping patterns
Sometimes sleep plays a role in identifying suicidal people. Disturbed sleeping patterns are mostly due to stress or unwanted thoughts or personal problems. Such people are generally going through depression or suicidal thoughts for a long period of time. This sign may seem minor but should not be taken lightly.
5) Drop in energy
Low energy is often observed in people with depression but can sometimes be combined with suicidal tendencies too. This could be due to lack of sleep or low levels of motivation to do daily chores or activities. Keep an eye on such people and make sure you spend some quality time with them.
6) Drugs and alcohol abuse
When humans don’t feel connected to the outside world and the people close to them, they revert to drugs and alcohol to escape from reality. Moreover, studies have shown that an intoxicated person is generally motivated to commit suicide.
7) Taking a step back from social life
People dropping out of their social lives is often a sign of depression but can also consider, they may be suicidal too! As mentioned earlier, suicidal people generally feel disconnected with the outside world. Eventually, they stop socialising coz they feel they may kill the vibe or aren’t good enough for their friends and family.
8) Not doing things they love
Nothing seems interesting to people with suicidal thoughts and they tend to stay away from activities they absolutely love doing. This is an indication that they need immediate attention and, in most cases, professional help.
This is the biggest and most crucial sign that someone you know might be suicidal. Some major examples could be cutting, burning, or poisoning oneself. It’s their way of putting themselves in a suicidal situation or testing waters before committing suicide as they feel physical pain some how shadows the emotional pain, which they are looking forward to escape from.
10) Taking risks
Studies have shown that suicidal people tend to take more risks as they solely feel they got nothing to lose! Some signs to lookout for would be picking fights randomly, rash driving or dangerous sport activities for instance.
11) Unable to control emotions leading to outbursts
Watch out for unexplainable reactions to certain things this person may have said in recent times. It might not make sense to you why something small requires such a huge emotional impact or response but understand that certain triggers might remind them of traumatic events in their life. The best suggestion would be to have a talk and see what’s been bothering them.
12) Body language
This might seem generic but coupled with previous signs, this could be a green signal for depression and suicide. Look out for slouched shoulders and no eye contact. Such people have a lot going on within themselves that prevent them from sharing, seeking help or even exhibiting confidence to live.
13) History of suicidal attempts
Someone is bound to be suicidal if they have attempted it in the past and have failed, otherwise known as suicidal tendencies. It’s important to understand that depression is not cured with a dozen medications. There are several methods based on research to do so. Sudden changes in mood, can push someone to give their suicidal attempts another shot.
14) Sudden rise in happiness
This sign is not the easiest to spot (but the most common one) since you may assume that this person is becoming better. Usually suicidal people are low motivated, have least interest in activities and isolate themselves from the other world. After several days of months of plotting and planning, they finally have found a way to exit this world and hence exhibit happiness since they will be free from their pain soon. Studies have shown that friends and relatives who have lost someone to suicide, claim the person was happy and showed no signs of committing such an act.
These are the 14 signs someone may be suicidal. If you know someone who may be suicidal, kindly talk to them about it and find professional help. Even though, a single sign doesn’t mean the person may harm themselves, it’s always better to stay alert and be safe than sorry!
If you’re someone who needs to do some deep digging to figure out those roots and triggers behind your suicidal thoughts, we highly recommend talking to one of our licensed counsellors.
At CareMe, we offer personalised plans based on data evaluations on your past traumas and recent experiences. We are here to support and understand your issues and walk with you through this journey! You are not alone!
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This blog was written under the expert guidance and feedback from Ms. Suveetha Vasu, Clinical Psychologist at CareMe Health
Edited and Coordinated by Arathi Nair