Dual Diagnosis

Signs of Suicide: What to Look for in a Person in Crisis

Do you know the signs of suicide? Knowing the signs of suicide can potentially save a loved one's life. Learn about the signs of suicide in our blog.

Signs of Suicide: What to Look for in a Person in Crisis

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 9, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Content warning: This blog discusses the signs of suicide as well as suicide.

For many, the signs of suicide go unrecognized. When a friend or a loved one loses a friend due to them killing themselves, many ask themselves why didn’t they see it coming.

First, it’s incredibly important not to blame yourself for another’s suicide. The things that cause people to kill themselves (mental disorders, substance abuse, outside stressors like job problems or money issues, relationship problems, and so on) aren’t your fault. Suicide is a deeply personal act.

However, recognizing signs of suicide, such as suicidal ideation or self-harm, can help you recognize when a loved one is in crisis. They can be very subtle, like the signs of depression. Here’s how to recognize the signs of suicide and when it’s time to help.

Signs of Suicide: What Is Suicide?

Suicide is a destructive act in which a person attempts to purposefully end their life due to depression, guilt, or any other emotional distress. Suicide affects not only one person's life but also the individual's family and other relationships they create while alive.

Suicide is one of the main causes of mortality worldwide, according to the WHO, with an estimated 800,000 fatalities per year. It is also the second biggest cause of death among young individuals aged 15 to 29.

Many people find their adolescence and early twenties extremely challenging. As a result of bullying in school or on social media, high school experiences are among the most prominent reasons kids attempt suicide. It’s why so many adolescents often display signs of suicide.

Similarly, in the early twenties, many people find the pressure continues. For many, the twenties are believed to be the time in a person's life when they are expected to figure out the rest of their lives – career, families, themselves. It is a time when people seek stability in their lives, and because of the world's highly competitive nature, many people become burdened by societal expectations that they feel they have to live up to.

For many, not being able to find stability in their 20s pushes them to feel worthless, guilty, or ashamed and causes them so much embarrassment in facing the world that they choose to take their own lives instead. Again, signs of suicide often manifest during this time.

Unfortunately, signs of suicide can happen throughout a person’s life. The signs of suicide can manifest throughout a person’s life. Middle age brings a lot of pressure and worries with it. Job worries, like feeling obsolete, can bring a person think about ending their life. Losing family members, or seeing them suffer through prolonged illness can make a person feel helpless and worthless. All of these situations can make a person show signs of suicide later in life.

Even the elderly can show signs of suicide.

Signs of Suicide: Coping with Societal Pressures and Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide may appear to be a simple process in which one ends their life, but it does not occur in a matter of days or months. It is the ongoing conflict that a person fights between the heart and mind to find their worth and be happy. That's correct; for many individuals, feeling positive is a significant challenge because people around them might have set certain expectations they could not fulfill.

It is a never-ending battle in which a person suffers from depression, eating disorders, and other issues for an extended period. Finally, when the suffering becomes unbearable, they end it by dying. Suicidal individuals are frequently overheard claiming that dying is painless and simple. 

Death, however, is not a remedy.

You are the one who determines your worth; you do not need to end your life because many people don't think you deserve it. As a result, you should never let anyone else's expectations burden you in any way since life is a gift, and you deserve to relish every moment of it to the fullest.

The suicidal thoughts you or a loved one are having, however, might not be resolved by this one paragraph. But if you're still reading, you're one step closer to figuring out how to put an end to experiencing suicidal thoughts and moving on to have a healthy life alongside others who make you feel good about yourself. Depending on the severity of issues and societal norms in each area, the prevalence of suicidal cases varies across regions and populations.

For instance, in the past few years, the suicide rate has been particularly high in subgroups like the LGBTQ community, people with mental health conditions, and children bullied at school or harassed on social media sites like Instagram or TikTok.

Signs of Suicide: What Do the Signs of Suicide Look Like?

It's important to understand that just because a person might show some of the following warning signs of suicide does not necessarily mean they are suicidal, but it does suggest that they are going through a tough time, which is like the foundation of depression and anxiety building up that eventually lead to either addiction problems or committing suicide.

These problems can become larger (or seem that way), and before they reach that stage, it's very important to take any signs of suicide seriously and get help immediately. The best way is to subtly tell the person you know is suffering to contact a crisis hotline or a therapist.

Remember, prevention is better than cure, and by being aware of these warning signs, you can save the lives of your loved ones.

Signs of Suicide: Talking About Death

People who are contemplating suicide may display certain behaviors or talk about their feelings in a way that act as signs of suicide. One way to identify potential suicidal behavior is through a person's language. Those with suicidal thoughts may talk about death or express guilt or shame in a way that is not always easy to identify. Some may indirectly communicate their thoughts with sarcasm, jokes, or quotes online. 

Additionally, the burden of responsibilities can weigh heavily on a person, causing them to feel like a burden on others and ultimately leading to thoughts of suicide. This can include failing in school or at work or being unable to fulfill certain expectations.

Signs of Suicide: Behavior Patterns

Another sign that someone may be showing signs of suicide is their behavior. For example, they may become increasingly isolated from friends or loved ones, give away important items, or make plans for after their death. They may also display extreme mood swings and engage in dangerous behaviors like driving recklessly. 

Sometimes, people struggling with suicidal thoughts may turn to self-medication or substance abuse to numb their feelings of depression, anxiety, or stress, which can lead to overdoses.

It’s a mistake to think signs of suicide always involve isolation from others and other stereotypically depressed behaviors. For some, having one last fling can be one of the signs of suicide they show.

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Signs of Suicide: What Are the Ways To Lower The Danger Of Suicide And Provide Support?

As previously said, intervening when a loved one (or anyone) is showing signs of suicide can save lives.

Now that you know the warning signs of suicide, the next question is how to handle a scenario in which a loved one is having suicidal thoughts. It is natural to be overwhelmed by the news that your loved one is contemplating suicide, and while you want to do everything you can for them, it is essential to know and understand how to help someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.

By recognizing the signs of suicide, you can do several things to help lower the danger of suicide and provide support to save your loved one's life.

How to Offer Support for a Person Showing Signs of Suicide

Offering support can be as simple as asking your pals how they have been feeling lately. However, please do not ask the question directly in someone's face whether or not they are struggling with self-harm thoughts.

Asking such direct questions puts the individual in an awkward situation. They may shut down and refuse to talk to you about their thoughts because they believe you have already determined they are suicidal. As a result, you may not provide the necessary assistance. 

Individuals might not always know how to deal with thoughts and other signs of suicide, but studies and several occurrences in the past indicate that all a person having suicidal thoughts wants is to be heard. It is essential to listen and to listen without any judgment.

According to research, speaking up about one's difficulties and talking about one's feelings considerably minimizes one's chances of committing suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are indeed something that a professional should deal with to ensure the safety of one's life. However, help begins at home. A person often does not directly approach a medical facility to seek help because, during that time, they are battling between thoughts.

It is important that if you feel somebody is showing signs of suicide, you ask them how they've been feeling lately and see if the way they talk and the pattern of their behavior signal that they might be suicidal. 

It is important to convey to them that their lives are precious, and they must seek all necessary measures to protect them. Thus, offering indirect assistance without making the person feel humiliated is the best method to protect someone's life. Of course, nobody wants to be asked if they are suicidal.

However, everyone appreciates being asked how they feel because everyone wants to be acknowledged. Therefore, with the correct care, you can significantly lessen the chance of someone acting on suicidal thoughts and other signs of suicide.

Signs of Suicide: How Does Negative Self-Talk Impact Mental Health and Suicidal Behavior?

Suicidal behavior is more common in people who do not practice self-care or who do not believe they are worthy of a decent life. Feelings of insecurity or self-doubt might exacerbate suicidal ideation. When someone starts to believe that they don't deserve the nice things in life, they subtly communicate to their subconscious mind that they don't deserve to live. This is how little triggers accumulate and manifest as depression, anxiety, and so on.

Thanks to TV series, social media platforms, and other platforms, people are discussing mental health awareness more than ever. However, no matter how much mental health is discussed, people continue to live in a shell where they do not feel safe enough to discuss their concerns, and the main reason for this is judgment. People avoid seeking treatment when they show signs of suicide because they are afraid of being judged and mocked.

However, this issue can be addressed by raising awareness about reputable and safe resources where people can seek assistance.

Can Self-Care Help a Person Showing Signs of Suicide?

Furthermore, exercising self-care can help to improve the mental outlook of someone showing signs of suicide. When people start putting effort into their everyday lifestyle, like exercising, eating properly, and surrounding themselves with positive relationships, it greatly contributes to mood transformation. However, committing suicide is a notion that requires more attention than a bunch of preventive strategies online so that you may do the necessary.

Still, you must also ensure that the individual experiencing suicidal thoughts receives expert care. Because it may come as a surprise to some, understanding how to value oneself can take months.

Consider The Edge Treatment Center:  A Reliable Crisis Center

As previously stated, individuals still don't feel safe enough to raise their concerns as they fear being judged or criticized. In a situation like that, finding a reliable place to seek help for suicidal thoughts or other mental health struggles can be challenging.

Suicide is a significant problem that impacts the person who commits it and their family and relationships. It is a major global cause of death, especially for people under 29, who are more susceptible to peer pressure, bullying, and pressure. Suicidal individuals often suffer from depression, eating disorders, and other issues for an extended period before deciding to take their own lives.

Signs of suicide, such as altered behavior, language, or mood, must be identified to offer support and effectively save lives. Helping someone experiencing suicidal thoughts can be as simple as offering support, listening, and encouraging them to seek professional help.  By being aware of the signs of suicide, you can save the lives of your loved ones.

The Edge Treatment Center has a high success rate in helping people recover and live happy and healthy lives. One of the leading treatment centers in the country, The Edge has deep experience in treating mental disorders, addictions, and dual diagnosis. In addition, our team of world-class recovery specialists will work with you to help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Guided by a trauma-informed philosophy, our team will help you or a loved one find reasons to live. If you or a loved one are displaying signs of suicide, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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