Preventing Suicide by asking the question
In this episode of the podcast, I ask you to join an army of individuals willing to ask the question: “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”.
New studies address our fear of planting the seed of that option in the mind of a troubled friend, family member or co-worker. Research now shows that simply being asked that difficult question can helpful and potentially begins a life-saving conversation.
I encourage you to learn more about The five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal are supported by evidence in the field of suicide prevention. The #BeThe1To campaign offers deep resources.
Within this episode I share the Warning Signs:
The warning signs of suicide are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
- Looking for a way to kill oneself;
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
- Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
- Talking about being a burden to others;
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
- Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;
- Sleeping too little or too much;
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and
This list of Warning Signs for Suicide was developed by an expert review and consensus process that included SAVE’s Executive Director and was informed by a review of relevant research and literature. Additional information about the warning signs can be found in the following published article: Rudd, M. D., Berman, A. L., Joiner, T. E., Jr., Nock, M. K., Silverman, M. M., Mandrusiak, M., et al. (2006). Warning signs for suicide: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36(3), 255-262.
If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…
Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with some mental illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seek professional help.
Questions okay to ask:
- “Do you ever feel so bad that you think about suicide?”
- “Do you have a plan to kill yourself or take your life?”
- “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”
- “Have you thought about what method you would use?”
Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family member is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is also a resource for you or the person you care about. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.
I include clips from a previous episode which offers a fuller discussion on the topic of suicide: