1 Changes in Behavior- With friends, family, and loved ones, we typically have a grasp on what we would consider “normal” behaviors. Signs to be aware of are changes outside of the norm. Noticing that someone is not interested in activities that they were typically engaged in does not necessarily allude to the fact that someone may have suicidal thoughts, but may be cause for conversation. While we look at a decline in normal activities, the later should be explored as well. You may notice that someone is suddenly interested in events and activities that seem out of the norm for that person. By no means do we want to stop someone from broadening their horizons, but being cognizant of the change and opening up the the conversation does not hurt.
2. Changes in Communication/ Conversation- Another important area to stay aware of is a change in someone’s communication. It is important to pay attention to the topics of conversation and the person’s demeanor when talking as well. When you notice others begin to discuss being a burden, lack of self worth, feelings of being alone, or direct discussion of wanting to self harm or stating that they want to die, these are areas of concern that warrant immediate attention.
3. Change in Mood- Some of the more visible signs with someone who may be contemplating suicide may be their change in mood. Areas to be aware of loss of interest in activities, signs of depression, change in appetite, lack or abundance of sleep, mood swings (extreme anger or very sullen moods), appearing to easily be irritated, drop in self esteem, etc.
Keep in mind that this information are not the only factors to be aware of. Environment, loss of loved ones, and changes in life can lead to thoughts of suicide. It is also important to remember that suicide is not subject to just one age group. Suicide occurs amongst our youth, and the elderly for various reasons. If you are in need of immediate assistance call 911 or any of the helplines below. Please remember that you are not alone and that it is ok to ask for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Access Crisis Intervention Hotline (Behavioral Health Response): 1-800-811-4760
Missouri Department of Mental Health: https://dmh.mo.gov/mentalillness/suicide/prevention.html