If someone retreats and rejects interaction, especially if you’ve been close in the past, they may be at risk for suicide. Researchers have found that more than half of the people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition at the time of their death. For many, everyday stressors contributed to their decision. These stressors may include:
- Relationship problems or loss
- Lack of social support
- Substance misuse
- Physical health problems
- History of trauma or abuse
- Job, money, legal or housing stress
Warning Signs of Suicide
If your friend or loved one exhibits certain behaviors, especially if they are new or increased, they may be at risk for suicide. According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, you should seek emergency services if you experience a friend or family member:
- Appearing anxious or acting recklessly
- Discussing death or suicide
- Exhibiting severe mood swings, including showing rage or wanting to seek revenge
- Increasing their use of substances such as alcohol or drugs
- Isolating themselves or sleeping too much (or too little)
- Researching lethal suicide methods, such as online searches or buying a gun
- Talking about feelings of hopelessness, unbearable pain or being a burden to others
The organization, BeThe1To offers five steps you can take to help someone in crisis and prevent suicide:
- Ask: Questions like “Are you thinking about suicide?,” “How do you hurt?,” and “How can I help?,” let your friend or loved one know you’re willing to talk without judgment. It is important, however, not to promise keeping conversations about suicide a secret.
- Be there: Support your friend or loved one by being physically and emotionally present. Connectedness helps decrease suicide and the escalation of suicidal thoughts and actions.
- Keep them safe: Preventing your friend or loved one from accessing lethal tools is an effective way to decrease suicide rates. Help by putting time and space between a person and their chosen method of suicide.
- Help them connect: Connect friends and loved ones to safety nets such as helplines and lifelines. You can also encourage them to see a behavioral and mental health professional and help them develop a safety plan in case of suicidal tendencies.
- Follow up: Leave a voice message, send a text or make a visit. By staying connected, your friend or loved one will know they have your ongoing support.
24/7 Suicide Prevention Services
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support at (800) 273-TALK.
Nuvance Health offers 24/7 support:
You can also find behavioral health support at: