Suicide: The tell-tale signs and what to do in an emergency

Why do some people contemplate suicide whereas others would never consider such a thing?


As a trauma specialist, I work with lots of clients some of who are suicidal, whilst others are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. It is heartbreaking to witness both to be honest. But why do some people contemplate suicide whilst others would never even dream of it? Why do some attempt it but would never actually carry it out fully? Is it a cry for help or are they serious about ending their life forever? Or is it they only want the pain to end now and really do not want to actually die forever? Also, what should you do, if you suspect someone is suicidal or has suicidal ideations? 
There are so many reasons why someone may consider suicide. It's important to know and remember that suicide is ‘never’ the answer to any problem, no matter how difficult the situation may seem at the time.  No matter how awful a situation may seem, there is always hope and things can and do change for the better over time, even though at the time of the horrendous event, it might seem like this is impossible to believe. 
Here are some common reasons why people may consider suicide:

  1. Mental health issues: People who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders or any other mental health condition may feel overwhelmed, isolated, lonely and hopeless, leading them to contemplate suicide.
  2. Relationship problems: Problems with romantic or family relationships can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, loneliness and despair, leading someone to consider ending their life.
  3. Financial struggles: Money problems – debt issues for instance or gambling - can cause extremely high levels of stress and anxiety, and for some people, it may feel like there is no way out, especially if they have gambled a lot or have huge debts.
  4. Substance abuse: Individuals who struggle with addiction – alcohol or drugs - may feel trapped and hopeless, leading them to contemplate suicide as a way to escape their unbearable emotional pain.
  5. Trauma: Experiencing trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, or extreme bullying can lead someone to feel helpless and without hope. Emotional trauma which keeps replaying over and over in the form of flashbacks and nightmares can be absolutely horrendous and seem never-ending. 

It's important to remember that if you are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, there is always some sort of help available. Please in the first instance reach out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, or mental health professional for support. The important thing is not to suffer in silence.

What are the signs that someone is feeling suicidal?

The tell-tale signs that someone is feeling suicidal can include:
1. Talking a lot about severe self-harm and suicide.
2. Giving away prized possessions or saying goodbye to loved ones.
3. Displaying feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
4. Increased use of drugs or alcohol.
5. Difficulty concentrating or appearing extremely distracted – more than usual.
6. Sleeping too much or too little.
7. Engaging in extremely reckless behaviour.
8. Intense mood swings.
9. Withdrawing from friends and loved ones.
10. Increased aggression or irritability.

What are some tips to help someone who is feeling suicidal?

If you suspect someone is contemplating suicide, here are my top ten tips to help:
1. Listen to them empathetically and attentively.
2. Stay calm and try not to judge or shame the person.
3. Encourage them to seek professional help from a doctor, therapist, teacher, or support group.
4. It is vital that you remove any means of self-harm from their surroundings.
5. Help them create a safety plan for when they experience suicidal ideation.
6. Check in on them regularly and ask them how they're feeling. But it is important that you don’t make them feel even more overwhelmed or that they are a burden. 
7. Offer practical help, such as cooking them a meal or cleaning their home.
8. Let them know that they're not alone and that you care about their well-being.
9. Remind them of their positive qualities and the things they contribute to the world.
10. Take care of yourself too, and seek support from others if needed. It is so important that you don’t forget about yourself if you are helping someone who has severe mental health issues.  It is vital to remember that it can be very draining on you too, especially if you are not trained in mental health or you have not experienced mental health issues yourself. 

If you can relate to this topic or if it has triggered you and would like to discuss some of the issues raised, then why not drop me a line or visit my profile on my social media to learn more. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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