Content warning: suicide
Every year nearly 800,000 people around the world take their own lives. In 2016 alone, Indiana lost 1,042 Hoosiers to suicide. Many more attempt suicide. In the United States, it’s the 10th leading cause of death overall, and the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-34. Suicide has a lasting impact on those left behind and on the community at large.
Suicide is preventable. Because more than one in five Hoosier middle and high school students self-reported that they have experienced or currently have had recent suicide ideations, the state of Indiana requires teachers to receive training in suicide prevention and to recognize the signs that a student may be considering to take their own life, but everyone should learn these life-saving warning signs. According to MedlinePlus, the warning signs for suicide include:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online
- Buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Feeling empty, hopeless, trapped, or like there’s no reason to live
- Being in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using more alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing from family or friends or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Saying good-bye to loved ones, putting affairs in order
Understanding and Preventing Suicide, available on the Library’s streaming service, describes the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and offers guidelines from experts in suicide prevention and treatment for getting troubled loved ones to the professional help they need.
What should you do if you recognize the signs of if someone tells you that they are thinking about ending their life? This article from the Mayo Clinic explains what to do when someone is suicidal and the first step is to find out whether the person is in danger of acting on suicidal feelings. Then, get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support. Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255), Teen Suicide Hotline 800-SUICIDE (784-2433), and the Crisis Text Line (741741) to reach a trained counselor. Save these numbers in your phone so you always have them.