Suicide has strong emotional consequences for the families and friends of its victims. With 44,000 people in the U.S. successfully committing suicide each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. NAMI also states that suicide is often the result of mental health conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable.
September is National Suicide Awareness Month, but our goal is to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide, which can happen at any time.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors
When concerned about a loved one who may be suicidal, it’s important to look out for a change of behavior or entirely new behaviors. This could be triggered by a painful event, loss or some type of personal change. Most people who decide to take their lives show one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Here are a few things to look out for if you are concerned about a friend or loved one:
If a person talks about:
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Experiencing unbearable pain
- Having no reason to live
- Killing themselves
Specific things to look out for include:
- Increased use of drug or alcohol
- Keeping away from friends and family
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
Ninety percent of people who commit suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. There are biological and psychological treatments that can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide.
At AltaMed, we are here to help. If you know someone that is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talk to your provider, who can refer you to our Behavioral Health team. One of our clinicians may be able to give you information and guidance to help you or someone you know. Other resources for help include:
- Call 211 for assistance with services like housing, employment or child care Click here for LA County and here for Orange County.
- Call the suicide prevention hotline if you’re in crisis or are experiencing suicidal thoughts at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).