September is National Suicide Prevention Month and is a good time to educate ourselves on the warning signs of suicide. Suicide has a direct impact on all of our communities and community members.
Remember, it is ok to reach out and get involved in preventing suicide in your community.
Warning Signs of Suicide:
When someone is thinking about suicide, there are always warning signs. They may be indirect warning signs, such as mood changes, or very direct warning signs such as the individual voicing their thoughts about suicide.
These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawn and feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
No matter the warning sign, we encourage you to get involved. The most direct way to find out if someone is thinking about suicide is to ask them directly, “Are you thinking about suicide?” If they respond no, and you don’t believe them, reach out to your local Behavioral Health Aid, or call TCC Behavioral Health (contact information below). It is important to get comfortable asking the question about suicide, and important to know who your community resources are.
Remember, there are some do’s and don’ts when talking with someone you are concerned about. It is important to do the following:
- Be sensitive and caring
- Direct and calm
- Be patient, it is hard to talk about suicide
- Listen intently to what the individuals feeling or saying.
- Talk openly and freely about suicide
- Ask if they have thought of a plan, and remove lethal means from the home
- Be genuine, open and honest
- Encourage them to seek help
It is important to avoid doing the following:
- Don’t give advice, such as making decisions for them
- Don’t promise secrecy
- Don’t be judgmental, remember it is a serious subject
- Avoid panicking
- Don’t be angry or aggressive
- Don’t use negative sayings, such as crazy, stupid or dumb
- Alaska Careline – 1-877-266-4357
- National Hotline – 1-800-273-8255
- TCC Behavioral Health:1-800-478-7822 x3800
- After Hours:1-800-478-7822 (Emergency Pager: stay on the line for someone to help)