Suicide is a complex problem that is plaguing people around the world. Nearly 800,000 people commit suicide every year. While suicide is a culmination of despair that can result from many causes, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, there is always help and hope available. Here’s how to recognize the signs someone is thinking of hurting themselves, and where to find help.
Reaching out for help is a sign of courage. Whether you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, reach out for help.
Assessing emotional health
Although specific causes of suicidal thoughts can be difficult to ascertain, a person’s emotional wellness weighs into the ability to cope with stress and despair. Emotional wellness refers to self-awareness and acceptance of one’s emotional reactions. It is your ability to bounce back from bad news, to handle loss, to get back up on the horse and try again after a failure, and deal with the stresses of everyday life. Individuals with strong emotional wellness are able to make positive choices and develop solid and healthy relationships.
Those with compromised emotional wellness can fall into a debilitating sense of sadness, leading to thoughts of suicide. They cannot persevere because they don’t see the benefit in doing so, and they are inclined toward bad choices which continue their downward spiral.
Warning signs to watch
Be on the lookout for any of the following in yourself or your loved ones:
- Thoughts of despair. People who are contemplating suicide often act profoundly depressed.
- Attempts to self-harm. This activity is often seen as an outcry by a suicidal person to communicate their intentions nonverbally.
- Impulsive behavior. Suicidal people often talk about giving away their possessions and might engage in dangerous acts.
- Emotional detachment. Being apathetic and not caring about the world around them is a sign that emotional wellness is lacking.
Help for general wellness
There are a few ways to increase emotional wellness. You can foster self-awareness through meditation, exercise, and practicing optimism. A professional care team can help you address deeper issues and find healing, and there are many types of specialists you may want to enlist. For example, a licensed clinical social worker will have earned a Master of Social Work degree from one of many accredited universities that required not only that they completed clinical work, but also hands-on field work. This means that even right after graduating, they’ve spent hours working with people suffering from a mental health condition like depression, and they can help you build your own arsenal of coping tools to find joy and inner peace.
Similarly, a therapist will help you discuss and discover what is causing you to feel hopeless, and based on their years of education and experience, will help you find a particular therapeutic approach to conquering your anguish. They may also refer you to a psychiatrist, who can prescribe antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medication as necessary.
Seasonal affective disorder
For many people, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, can be at the root of despair. This disorder, sometimes called winter depression, typically affects people in the winter when daylight hours are limited, but it also can affect people who have existing depression. If you notice that there are certain times of year when you feel more overwhelmed than others, it may be worth talking to a therapist about SAD.
Experts believe that light is a key to treating SAD, and it can influence other issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Just opening curtains can provide a mood lift. If your windows are dirty and you don’t feel up to cleaning them, you can always hire someone to make the glass sparkle. Explore window cleaning near me to find an affordable and reliable window cleaner. If you boost your exposure and still feel low, you might look into additional measures. Light therapy treatments involve natural light, like getting out in the sun more often, or using a light box.
Greenery can help
For some people, being surrounded by plant life is another natural antidepressant. NBC News explains plant therapy proponents believe adding houseplants to our daily lives can help reduce depression. Some studies indicate people can increase their happiness, relaxation, and productivity just by adding some plants to their lives or spending time in green space.
Seek serious assistance
While small changes can help, if you are struggling with mental health concerns or having suicidal thoughts, or if you know someone else who is, there is no substitute for connecting with professional assistance. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 and go to a hospital.
Suicide is a difficult problem facing our society. Be alert to warning signs that despair is closing in on someone. There is hope, and recognizing someone is struggling can save a life.