I’ve done several live videos discussing how to address suicide. However, I wanted to compile this information into a resource that would be easily accessible for quick reference.
Here are the definitions used by the National Institute for Mental Health
Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives, and they die because of their actions. It’s best to avoid the use of terms like “committing suicide” or a “successful suicide” when referring to a death by suicide as these terms often carry negative connotations.
A suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the intent to end their lives, but they do not die because of their actions.
The main risk factors for suicide are:
- A prior suicide attempt
- Depression and other mental health disorders
- Substance abuse disorder
- Family history of a mental health or substance abuse disorder
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Being in prison or jail
- Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or media figure
- Medical illness
- Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60
However, it’s important to note that having these risk factors does not mean that the person will inevitabily commit suicide. Studies have shown that 60% of individuals who commit suicide have a mood disorder. However that also means that 40% of individuals who commit suicide do not have a mood disorder. Suicide is actually one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Many people assume that suicide is not very common, but this is actually not the case. I’m not really sure why but I’ve noticed a trend that whenever someone dies from suicide, people refuse to talk about it. I think there is often a discussion about whether or not we should blame the individual. I don’t think going down that road changes anything. After all the person who killed themselves is already gone. To get to the heart of the issue a person who has suicidal thoughts feels like there is no way out other than to kill themselves. They are missing a critical component called hope. It’s not something to take lightly. The human spirit needs hope to survive. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that the darkness will not defeat the light. Suicide is the final decision and shuts the door on any possibility of someone getting better. If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out and ask for help! Find a mental health professional you can trust and connect with! There is hope!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/