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  • Writer's pictureMallory Fuller

Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs

Early studies have shown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, suicidal thoughts in young adults have risen 15%. It is more important NOW than ever for everyone to be educated and prepared to identify and address suicidal thoughts. Below, I have outlined some common warning signs of suicide provided by the Jason Foundation*. Learning these warning signs can truly save a life. I pray that you will take a moment to read through them and learn how you can play an integral role in the fight against this tragedy.



Suicide Threats

  • It is incredibly important to take any kind of suicide threat seriously. Suicide threats can be direct like “I am going to kill myself,” or more abstract like “I’d be better off dead.” Other examples of threats include, “I won’t be bothering you much longer,” “you would be better off without me around,” “I hate my life,” or “I’d be better off dead.” Suicide threats are not always verbal.


Depression

  • Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts. Mental or addictive disorders are associated with 90% of suicide. Depression can be exhibited in many ways but could include the following signs:

    • Sudden, abrupt changes in personality

    • Expressions of hopelessness and despair

    • Declining grades

    • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed

    • Lack of hygiene

    • Withdrawal

    • Changes in eating and sleeping habits


Anger, Increased Irritability

  • Suicide is associated with fighting for both males and females, across all ethnic groups, and for youth living in urban, suburban, and rural areas. If a friend is exhibiting unusually irritable behavior, this could be a reason for concern.


Lack of Interest

  • If someone you know suddenly starts to lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy participating in, this could be a warning sign of suicide. An example of this would be someone who loves sports no longer wants to play or a musician who no longer wants to play music.


Sudden Increase/Decrease in appetite

  • Realizing that your friend or loved one is either eating less or more than normal without any other additional lifestyle changes.


Sudden changes in appearance

  • This could include not dressing as they typically would or neglect of their personal hygiene.


Dwindling in academic performance

  • Grades dropping suddenly, an A+ student now failing classes or not turning in assignments, or lack of concern for school and grades could all be indicators of depression or suicidal thoughts.


Previous suicide attempts

  • Youth who have attempted suicide are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those who have never attempted suicide. One out of three suicide deaths is not the individual’s first attempt. It is extremely important to take instances of deliberate self-harm seriously.


Final Arrangements

  • Final arrangements could look like someone saying good-bye to family and friends, giving away prized possessions, or even making funeral arrangements.


I will be posting a future blog post on how to help a struggling friend, but I would like to take a moment to encourage you to keep an eye out for friends and family members who may be displaying these signs. 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have shown clear warning signs. It is important to not be afraid to ask someone if they are having suicidal thoughts. Oftentimes, opening this conversation for that person is the first step in helping them find help. Knowing these signs empowers us with an incredible opportunity to find professional help for those in pain and potentially save a life.


*The Jason Foundation is an "organization dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers, and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth." For more information and resources visit this link here.


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johannsentonya
Mar 24, 2021

Very good information!

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