Life's challenges are amplified these days. If you watch the news, there are real threats from a virus and lots of concerns about current events.
Sadly, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause in people aged 10-34.
But there is hope - and many people stand ready to help if you are considering harm to yourself.
Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. In fact, more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition, according to the Indiana Hospital Association. Almost 48,000 people annually die from suicide in the U.S., and of them over 1,000 are Hoosiers with a Hoosier dying by suicide every eight hours
According to the Indiana Suicide Prevention website, environmental factors that affect our mental health change as we age. Teens are confronted with unstable relationships with family, friends and boyfriends/girlfriends as well as the stress of school and sports. Adults can face financial and marital stressors along with having to care for aging parents. The elderly population, who were once independent and self-sufficient are watching family and friends pass away as well as facing their own mortality. Lastly, veterans, who sacrificed so much to protect our borders and those in other countries, come home with post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse issues, and possibly marital discord.
These different stressors can lead an individual feeling hopeless and helpless without any reprieve.
Signs of Trouble
Here are the signs if you or someone you know might be contemplating suicide:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
How to Get Help
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Hotline Number 800-273-TALK (8255). If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others, please call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.
Also, you can:
- Ask the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way.
- Be physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk.
- Keep them safe. If you’ve determined suicide is indeed being talked about, it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety.
- Connect with ongoing supports (like the Lifeline, 800-273-8255) and establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis.
- Follow up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.