Suicide and suicidal behaviors are tragic reactions to life situations. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a reminder that we can all help to prevent suicide. People who are depressed and hopeless may fail to see any other way out of their problems, feel that things will never change, or think that others are better off without them.
The number one cause of suicide is depression, and while depression is almost always treatable, some people suffer with it in silence and don’t seek help. They may plan suicide without anyone suspecting how much in crisis they really are.
People may also impulsively take their own lives when they are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and are not thinking clearly. Sometimes a suicide attempt is a cry for help triggered by intense emotional pain. Other factors that can lead to suicide include severe mental illness such as psychosis, a terminal illness, abuse, or other trauma. Warning signs that someone is at risk of suicide include persistent depressed mood, loss of interest in activities and friends, isolation, and talking about death.
If you recognize a number of these symptoms in yourself or a friend, it’s critical to contact a mental health provider, physician, or suicide/crisis hotline for advice and help. Acting quickly can make the difference between life and death. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Their phone number is 1-800-273-8255 or just dial 988 for help.