Suicide affects millions of people each year—those who die by suicide, and the family members, friends, and co-workers who struggle with the loss. Losing someone you care about is always hard, but losing someone to suicide brings with it an additional layer of emotions. Loss survivors are often plagued by feelings of confusion or guilt. If you’re a spouse, parent, or child of a person who died by suicide, you may be particularly vulnerable to feeling that you could have done more to prevent it from happening. You may even worry that something you did or didn’t do was a contributing factor.
Being aware of signs and risk factors could help you save the life of someone in crisis. There are also many support groups for loss survivors. Warning signs include:
- Changing behavior significantly, or the presence of entirely new behaviors—particularly when related to a painful event;
- Talking about suicide, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped or in unbearable pain;
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs;
- Searching online for methods to die by suicide;
- Withdrawing from activities and contact with people;
- Sleeping too much or too little;
- Saying goodbye and giving away prized possessions.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. It should be noted that depression does not inevitably lead to suicide. Many people successfully manage depression and other mental and behavioral health issues, but these underlying issues are risk factors for suicide.
For More Information
Additional resources are available at AFSP.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides five steps you can take to communicate with someone who may be suicidal.
Spread the word about suicide prevention with #BeThe1To.
If you’re struggling, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).