Self-harm and Suicide


What is Suicide?

Suicide is the act of marking an end to one's own life, most often as a consequence of depression or other mental disorders or may be due to regretful life experience. Suicide or self harm is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the reports of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

What are Suicidal Tendencies?

Suicidal tendency is the ability of an individual to have suicidal ideation or to make an attempt to take one's own life.

Many people encounter suicidal thoughts in their life when they are experiencing stress or depression. In most of the cases, these thoughts are treatable and temporary, but in some cases, these thoughts put the person at the peril of attempting or completing suicide.

Who is at risk?

Any individual can attempt suicide at any stage in life. People from different cultures and economic levels try to end their lives. The biggest reason to worry about is that a suicide attempt can lead to life-threatening issues.

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts:

  • Thinking of dying or ending life.
  • Thinking of dying or ending life.
  • Falling interest in things an individual used to enjoy.
  • Feeling like a burden to the world.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Highly agitated behavior.
  • Increased isolation.
  • Changes in the patterns of eating and sleeping.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Drug usage.
  • Family history of self-destruction or suicide.

The signs of warning aren't always clear, and they may differ from one person to another. Some people may show their intentions clearly, while others might keep their suicidal thoughts and feelings a secret.

Warning Signs to look for in Kids:

Many people do not realize that kids and teens can be at risk of attempting suicide. They also display some warning signs. If a kid is speaking about death or wanting to die, always take them seriously. A small event or issue can have a very stressful impact on a teen or a child that might not seem like a big deal to a grown-up. Children and teens might be at risk for self-destruction if they:

  • Encounter bullying
  • Lose someone dear to them
  • Experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • Hold a past of mental sickness
  • Feel doubtful about their sexual orientation

Symptoms of self injurious behaviour:

Some signs and symptoms that you can observe to notice if the person is showing any suicidal tendencies:

  • Scars or wounds, often in patterns
  • Recent cuts, injuries, bruises, bite marks or other injuries
  • Excessive rubbing of an area to produce a burn
  • Holding on to the sharp things
  • Frequent news of accidental damage
  • Problems in interpersonal relations
  • Emotional and behavioral instability
  • Unpredictable nature

How can you help someone in need?

Listen carefully to your friend or loved one hinting at or talking about ending his/her life. Let them pour their heart and mind out in front of you without any judgments from you. Notice any self injurious behaviour in the person. Tell them that you care and are there to help them. Try not to overreact and keep your calm.

Keep in mind: In case of immediate danger, call 911.

Offer them your help and if they agree, then call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255). Or visit a professional mental health counselor or a pastor.

Call the individual if you sense any threat from his/her text or social media posts. If a threat is made over a phone call, then ask for your location and inquire if they are alone or not. Hold the person on the line until you get some help.

Licensed mental health professionals are trained to find out the signs of suicidal behavior disorder by asking a series of questions to the person. Suicidal ideation is treatable, just like any other physical or mental ailment. Identifying the problem can help you get access to the right level of care and supervision at the right time.


Screening for Mental Health: Help Yourself, Help Others

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255)

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