Nearly 35,000 people die by suicide each year. That translates to 94 people per day, making suicide the 11th leading cause of death across all age groups. Suicide is a complex issue: there is no single cause, and, oftentimes, suicidal thoughts are never voiced and suicidal signs can be subtle.
Depression is the mental health disorder most commonly associated with suicide, though anxiety and addiction can also increase one’s risk. Other mood disorders such as bipolar depression, or schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and even chronic pain can also lead to suicidal thoughts. Be especially cautious of individuals going through a rough patch in life, perhaps a death in the family, divorce, trauma, or other prolonged types of stress.
Suicidal depression can negatively impact an individual long before it is diagnosed or treated, though people who actively manage their suicidal depression and other mental health conditions are able to lead rich, fulfilling lives. Knowing what to look for and how to identify suicidal signs is the first step in suicide prevention.
SUICIDAL SIGNS: WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), there are three types of suicidal signs to be aware of: talk, behavior and mood.
Obviously, if an individual talks about killing themselves or not wanting to live, speak to them or a mental health professional immediately. Other less obvious red flags include talking about feeling trapped, experiencing unbearable pain, or being a burden to others, thinking that other people would be better off without them.
Look for the obvious signs, such as those indicating that a person is looking for ways to kill themselves, i.e. searching online for either information or materials, or visiting friends and relatives to say goodbye. Other, more subtle suicidal signs may manifest, including: increased use of drugs and/or alcohol; reckless behavior; social withdrawal and isolation; excessive sleep; not enough sleep; aggression; and giving away prized personal possessions.
Sometimes it’s not what a person says, but rather their frame of mind that can be an indication of suicidal thoughts. Suicidal depression may be implicated by sadness, indifference, anger, irritability, anxiety and shame.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE IS SUICIDAL
If someone you know is exhibiting any of the suicidal signs outlined above, you should first ask sensitive yet direct questions to gauge their likelihood of acting on their suicidal thoughts. Do you feel like just giving up? Have you tried to harm yourself? Have you ever thought about suicide? Asking questions about suicide may feel dangerous, but rather than push a person closer to acting on their suicidal thoughts, you’ll actually be giving them an opportunity to discuss their feelings in a safe environment.
If you believe that a person is at risk of committing suicide, encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
If a person is at risk of harming themselves or others, contact your local police department to file a Section 136, which allows the police to bring the individual to a safe place until a mental health evaluation and assessment can be performed.
There are some suicidal depression treatments available: antidepressants; psychotherapy; electroconvulsive therapy and ketamine infusions. It is worth exploring all depression treatment options, as each individual will respond differently to various methodologies. We have seen ketamine infusions drastically improve the symptoms of suicidal depression in many individuals, helping them to enrich and enliven their day-to-day lives.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal depression, please contact Vitalitas Denver. Ketamine infusions effectively treat severe depression in up to 70% of patients – it could be the miracle you’ve been waiting for. We’ll answer any questions you have about the use of ketamine as an antidepressant, and help determine if you are a good candidate for ketamine infusions.