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How Can I Tell If Someone is Feeling Suicidal? September is Suicide Prevention Month

Many people who consider or complete suicide don’t necessarily want to die. They want to escape. Whether it is a bad situation, abuse, depression, the long, slow grind of a chronic illness or an endless list of other difficulties – some people may see that the only way out is death. And often, but not always, they telegraph their intent to kill themselves.

Here are some (but not all) of the warning signs that a person may be suicidal.

· Threatening to hurt or kill themselves

· Looking for ways to kill themselves: seeking access to pills, weapons or other means

· Talking, writing or posting on social media thoughts on death, dying or suicide

· Hopelessness

· Rage, anger, seeking revenge

· Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking

· Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out

· Increasing alcohol and drug use

· Withdrawing from friends, family or society

· Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time

· Dramatic changes in mood (often from depressed to joyous)

· No reason for living, no sense of purpose in life

People might show one or many of these signs. However, they may not indicate anything at all. Family and friends of those who complete suicide should not add guilt to their grief by blaming themselves for missing a sign or symptom. Please remember that despite our best efforts some people will die by suicide.

If you are concerned about a loved one – ask them if they are considering suicide and act accordingly. Call the national suicide prevention hotline 1-800-TALK (8255).

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