Every 40 seconds, one person commits suicide and close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year.
Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the human lifespan. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old globally. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide, there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide so preventing suicide is now a global imperative.
It is important to note that suicide is not a mental illness in itself, but is often a consequence of treatable mental disorders that include depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, eating disorders especially anorexia or bulimia nervosa and anxiety disorders.
Suicide Warning Signs
Any of the following could be potential warning signs for suicide:
- Threatening suicide: Most people who have suicidal thoughts do not carry them out but up to 75% of them will give someone — a friend or relative — a warning sign. Every mention of suicide should be taken seriously.
- Excessive sadness or moodiness: Long-lasting sadness, mood swings, and unexpected rage.
- Hopelessness: Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future, with little expectation that circumstances can improve.
- Sudden calmness: Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made a decision to end his or her life.
- Withdrawal: Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression, a leading cause of suicide. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.
- Changes in personality or appearance: A change in attitude or behaviour, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness may be an indicator to watch out for. In addition, the person might suddenly become less concerned about their personal appearance.
- Dangerous or self-harmful behaviour: Potentially dangerous behaviour, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of drugs or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.
- Recent trauma or life crisis: A major life crisis might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one, a divorce or break-up, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.
- Making preparations: Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put their personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up their room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide. Some will buy a firearm or other means like poison or pesticides.
What to do if you think someone is suicidal?
People who receive support from caring friends and family and who have access to mental health services are less likely to act on their suicidal impulses than are those who are socially isolated. If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide:
- Do not leave the person alone. If possible, ask for help from friends or other family members.
- Ask the person to give you any weapons he or she might have. Take away or remove sharp objects or anything else that the person could use to hurt themselves.
- If the person is already in psychiatric treatment, help contact the doctor or therapist for guidance and help
- Try to keep the person as calm as possible
- Rather than trying to talk the person out of suicide, let him or her know that depression is temporary and treatable
- In some cases, the person just needs to know that someone cares and is looking for the chance to talk about his or her feelings. You can then encourage the person to seek professional help.
If you are a Hygeia HMO enrollee, you may have access to mental healthcare services. Check your benefit listing in the Hygeia HMO app or email us on email@example.com to confirm. You can also call us on 0700 -494342- 466