Suicide – How can we recognize someone at risk?

29 Nov 2013

Suicide – How can we recognize someone at risk?

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There was another local teen suicide this past week. A 17 year old high school student. It is such a tragedy that any one is so lost in despair and lack of hope that they believe this is their best option. Why don’t we see the signs? What can we do to help stop this?

First we must know what some of the things are that may initiate thoughts of suicide / put some one at risk: changes in the family, broken relationships, significant problems at home or with boy/girl friend; the media and the music some one listens to; abuse of alcohol and drugs; sexual issues (gender identity struggles, dangerous erotica); social issues with piers – being bullied, feels like an outcast and unwanted; family history of depression and physical problems / terminal illness.  These are just some of the factors in some one’s life that may lead to suicidal thoughts.  Things that can cause loss of hope, despair and anguish.

Now just because some one is experiencing these things doesn’t mean they are thinking about suicide but they can be events that trigger suicidal thoughts.

What are some signs that someone may be seriously considering suicide.  First, if someone talks about it or you see a reason you think they might be thinking about it , don’t dismiss it and think it is nothing!  Talk to them, find out what is going on and listen to them.   It is important to find out what they are truly thinking.

Pay attention to details that answer the following:  How specific are they about the details?  How often have they thought about it?  Have they considered how they would do it?  Where? By what means? When?  The more lethal/certain the method is the more serious.  If the method is readily available the more serious.   Where they would do it is very important (the less likely to be found the more serious the risk).

These may not be comfortable to discuss but are very important.  If someone tells you I think about it every day.  My dad has a gun hidden up stairs.  He doesn’t think I know where it is but I do.  I figure I’d take it after school some day, before any one is home.  Then I’d go to the abandoned warehouse a few streets from my house and do it there. No one would hear and they wouldn’t find me for days.  If they even missed me.

This scenario has all the factors of a serious risk.  Frequency of thought, ease or opportunity, very lethal means and a location where no one will likely find him during the attempt.  It has been thought out with detail and would have a great likelihood of success.

This is not a complete list to consider nor does it contain all the answers but hopefully it will help you think about some things you haven’t before and some day they may help save some one’s life?

*** Most important of all ***

If you think anyone you know is at risk or you are thinking about suicide yourself.  Seek professional help and consultation immediately.  If you or some one else is danger of harm right now.  Call 911 immediately.

You’re Not Alone!