What You Need to Know About Someone Contemplating Suicide

Believe it or not, suicide is the leading cause of death among indigenous Canadians up to the age of 44. As for the rest of the population, there are an average of 4,000 deaths per year, with teen suicide among Canadian girls increasing on a yearly basis. The reasons someone wants to take his or her own life vary, but there are various methods of treatment that can help no matter what the impetus is.

Suicide Warning Signs

It’s important to know the warning signs of suicide if you feel you are at risk or if you know someone who may need help. Don’t avoid an uncomfortable conversation with someone you think may be contemplating suicide. Even if they’re combative or in denial, you’re potentially saving a life, so that’s much more important than worrying about confrontation. If you walk in on a dire situation, call 911. Otherwise, call one of the suicide prevention hotlines for direction.

According to Odyssey, some warning signs to look for include:

  • Suicidal talk
  • Changes to their will
  • Giving away their possessions
  • Obtaining a weapon
  • Strange sleeping patterns
  • Lethargy
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Low motivation for their social life
  • Self-harm
  • Risky behavior
  • Body language

Why People Commit Suicide

Mental health professionals believe there are six main reasons why a person wants to take his or her life—though there could also be a combination of the following:

1. Depression: This is the most common reason. If severe enough, people can have such an immense feeling of hopelessness that they truly feel that life will never get better. There’s also a tendency to think that life would be better for others if they weren’t around. The good news is that depression is almost always treatable.

2. Psychotic Tendencies: While psychosis is also treatable, it’s harder to hide than depression—take schizophrenic, for example. Those who are poorly treated for the condition often let their inner voices take over which can translate into a suicide.

3. Impulsiveness: This is often related to drug and alcohol abuse. The side effects mixed with depression can prompt someone to attempt suicide. Treatment in this case should start with treating the substance abuse addiction and exploring reasoning behind it.

4. A Cry for Help: People in this category usually don’t want to die, but they don’t know how else to get attention except by doing something severe, perhaps without intentionally trying to take their life. Think about someone who takes too many aspirin when upset over a breakup.

5. Philosophical Reason to Die: The motivator here has nothing to do with the above reasons. Rather, people are trying to control their own destiny. Perhaps they have a terminal illness, and suicide gives them the choice to end their life sooner.

6. A Mistake: Tempting fate through stupid acts like trying to be a daredevil or experimenting with oxygen deprivation often have a fatal outcome.


Getting Help

Whether it’s reaching out to a close friend or family member or calling upon a trusted suicide hotline number, it’s crucial to make an effort to reach out for help before it’s too late. You’ll need to seek the help of a mental health professional where you’ll undergo a treatment that will likely involve a combination of psychotherapy to understand the root of your suicidal thoughts. You may also need to take medication (like antidepressants) to help control negative emotions.

People contemplating taking their life rarely think about the deep wounds the act leaves on the loved ones they will leave behind; yet that’s part of the psychological warfare behind suicide. Suicide is never the answer. This is why we’re all responsible for keeping an eye out for loved ones, friends, and even coworkers who may not have the strength to get the help they need.

We have recently released a Substance Abuse & Suicide guide. Feel free to take a look here:


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