Every death is a sad event, but deaths by suicide are especially tragic. For one thing, suicide is preventable, and it’s all too often a permanent response to a temporary problem. Another reason is that suicides create victims beyond the deceased, as friends and family agonize over the loss and wonder what they might have done to prevent the death.

For far too long, suicide has been a taboo topic among many people. Some are frightened or overwhelmed by the topic. Others worry that discussing suicide might lead others to take their lives. The reality is that the best way to keep suicides from ending the lives of those we love is to bring the topic into the open, encourage people to discuss it, and increase awareness of the warning signs. It’s an especially timely topic as people struggle with anxiety and depression in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

Suicide isn’t something that happens to certain types of people who live in certain places. It’s all around us, in all kinds of families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches. It doesn’t discriminate. It’s true that factors such as someone’s financial well-being may be a factor in the decision to die by suicide, but people who appear to be healthy and wealthy choose to die that way, too.

Mental health issues such as depression play a clear role. When someone is deeply depressed or overwhelmed by life’s challenges, they may not be thinking clearly enough to seek solutions on their own. Suicide seems to be a way to end the pain they feel. Most don’t really want to die, but in their state of mind, they don’t see an alternative.

Fortunately, depression, anxiety, and the other conditions that increase the risk of suicide can be treated. That’s why it’s so important to become familiar with the warning signs that suggest a person may be thinking about death by suicide. They include:

  • talking about harming themselves or threatening to do so
  • becoming withdrawn and isolated from friends, families, and activities they enjoy
  • saying they have no reason for living or sense of purpose
  • frequent mood swings and expressing rage or anger
  • unusual sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much or too little
  • sudden increases in risky behaviors, including alcohol or drug use.

If someone you know or love appears to be thinking about suicide, talking with them can be the first step in protecting them. Care to Change offers training in QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer), an extremely effective approach to determining whether someone is considering suicide and encouraging them to seek help. We can come to your workplace, your church, your organization, or wherever to help others better understand the warning signs and know the simple steps anyone can take to keep people from making the wrong decision. Contact us today so we can work together to save lives.

(If you’re thinking about suicide, know that help is available for you. Your life is important. Tomorrow needs you. Please find someone who you can talk to. You can text 741741 right now to connect with someone who cares and will listen, or you can call us and sit down with one of our professionals. Please don’t delay, because the sooner you find help, the faster you’ll find your way out of the darkness.)