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Suicide is a prominent issue in the United States, especially among young people; in fact, it’s the third leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24. Raising awareness of this problem is important because often, there is a stigma surrounding suicide that makes people reluctant to talk about it.

Suicide Prevention: Recognizing Signs

There are often underlying issues with suicide, such as mental or emotional disorders that can lead to depression or violence, so it’s important to know what the signs of suicidal thoughts are and how to interpret them apart from normal behaviors. These signs can include talking or writing about dying, changes in behavior, a sudden decline in health or performance at work/school, or giving away belongings, to name just a few.

If these behaviors begin to manifest themselves in someone you love, don’t be afraid to speak up. Start a conversation about their well-being and let them know you’re concerned, but do not be judgmental. Bringing guilt or shame into the talk will only make things worse, and it’s likely they already feel those things anyway. Simply let them know you’re listening. It’s a good idea to start the conversation one-on-one, but if there are other concerned parties present, make sure everyone knows to let each person have their time to speak.

Suicide Prevention: Conversations

Know that it’s okay to ask your loved one if there’s anything you can do to help them, but keep in mind that you will not have all the answers. It could be that even a trained professional won’t have the answers, either; sometimes there are underlying issues with suicidal thoughts that aren’t visible to others such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or depression, which may require therapy, medication, or both. It might take months or even years to figure out a method of treatment that is helpful, and that’s okay.

There could be other factors involved to take into consideration, as well, such as a family history of depression or suicide, exposure to another individual’s suicide or attempt, or a stressful event or life change such as a death in the family, an accident or injury, or an event that caused PTSD.

If you feel self-harm is imminent, do your best to remove any items from the area that could be used to cause injury and call 911. Do not leave the individual alone under any circumstance.

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This article was a guest post written by Chloe Pearson for pmtcounseling.com.  We are grateful for this submission.

About the Author

Chloe Pearson is a research specialist and freelance writer. She enjoys volunteering for ConsumerHealthLabs.com because she understands that in order for consumers to make the best decisions about their health they need reliable, well-researched information on which to base those decisions. And that’s precisely what everyone at Consumer Health Labs aims to do as they explore and interpret new health-related data and research.

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