Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nicole's Action - Recognize a Plea for Help

Yesterday I touched on a very sensitive subject. So sensitive, that I hardly got a response. The joys of blogland.. everyone just basks in the positive, but the taboo is a little harder to swallow.

Alas, I am not giving up on the subject just yet- as promised, I am going to share some of the tips the professionals recommend when dealing with someone who may be suicidal.

If you are not sure what I am talking about, check out the previous post.

First of all, let's identify who is at a higher risk for exhibiting suicidal behavior?

  • Older people who have lost a spouse through death or divorce

  • People who have attempted suicide in the past

  • People with a family history of suicide

  • People with a friend or co-worker who committed suicide

  • People with a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

  • People who are unmarried, unskilled, or unemployed

  • People with long-term pain, or a disabling or terminal illness

  • People who are prone to violent or impulsive behavior

  • People who have recently been released from a psychiatric hospitalization (This often is a very frightening period of transition.)

  • People in certain professions, such as police officers and health care providers who work with terminally ill patients

  • People with substance abuse problems


  • Now that we have identified our high risk population, what about the actual signs/symptoms?
    According to the Cleveland Clinic. the signs are fairly consistent:

  • Excessive sadness or moodiness — Long-lasting sadness and mood swings can be symptoms of depression, a major risk factor for suicide.

  • 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. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.

  • Changes in personality and/or appearance — A person who is considering suicide might exhibit a change in attitude or behavior, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. In addition, the person might suddenly become less concerned about his or her personal appearance.

  • Dangerous or self-harmful behavior — Potentially dangerous behavior, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of drugs and/or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.

  • Recent trauma or life crisis — A major life crises might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one or pet, divorce or break-up of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.

  • Making preparations — Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide.

  • Threatening suicide — Not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. However, every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.


  • The Cleveland Clinic also suggests a few tips on how to help someone who may be suicidal:

  • 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 sharp objects or anything else that the person could use to hurt himself or herself.

  • Try to keep the person as calm as possible.

  • Call 911 or take the person to an emergency room



  • I hope this information is helpful for you or someone you know. There are tons of websites with lots of advice. I found most of my tips from The Cleveland Clinic .

    3 comments:

    Stacie said...

    Perhaps it has become a little too close to all of us... and we don't really want to recognize it or be responsible for anyone else. Thank you for the reminder, life is precious. I am curious, I didn't catch it in your previous post, if in your research you happened to stumble across any statistics on caregivers and suicide?

    TV's Take said...

    Very taboo but an important subject! I'm still not sure I want to watch that movie though?

    Tamika D. said...

    Wonderful post that needed to be talked about. If we don't bring these taboo subjects to the light, then who will? Being in the dark isn't fun at all--no matter what the subject. EVERYONE should see "The Bridge." Thanks for writing this post & for suggesting the movie, Nicole.

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