Reach out and save lives: understand the signs
September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day, an internationally recognized event designed to raise awareness and dispel some of the myths related to suicide.
Suicide affects people of all ages and genders. Each year more Albertans die by suicide than motor vehicle collisions. As a result, many Albertans have been impacted by losing someone to suicide.
Suicide is a preventable tragedy that starts with learning how to recognize the signs that someone may be suicidal. Although not all people show warning signs, most suicidal people show signs of their distress. Being aware of these signs can help someone identify and talk to a person at risk.
There are many different warning signs and being aware of them is an important step in helping to prevent suicide. Talking to someone who may be suicidal does not put the idea in their head. In fact, being able to openly discuss suicide lets the person know you care and can make a difference.
Some of the suicide warning signs to look for include:
- Talking about suicide or a plan
- Making statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Personality changes, including lack of self care/neglect of self
- Increase in drug and alcohol use
- Increase in risk taking behaviour
- Becoming cheerful after a period of depression, which may mean the individual has already made the decision to escape their problems through suicide
Suicidal people are in pain and want their pain to end, but do not necessarily want to die. Talking about suicide provides a clearer picture of how the person feels so they can get the help they need.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call Health Link at 811.