Suicide is a desperate cry for help for a person whose life circumstances have led to such deep pain that they see no other option. There are often clues or warning signs that indicate an individual is considering suicide. Recognizing these warning signs is the key to prevention.
- Threatens to end his or her life
- Implies that he or she will not be around in the future
- Gives away prized personal possessions
- Has purchased or acquired a rope or gun
- Exhibits extreme self-dissatisfaction which is often due to loss ( of a loved one, employment, health and or money)
- Has accumulated a large supply of pills
- Exhibits personality and behavior changes
- Falls into periods of deep depression
- No longer cares about school, work or social activities
- Talks a lot about death, dying and life after death possibilities
- Shows a marked lack of energy or enthusiasm
- Isolates him/herself from friends and family
It is important to understand that most suicidal individuals do give clues to others about how they feel prior to taking action. It is not uncommon, however, for someone who is suicidal to suddenly appear to be feeling better just before they make an attempt. This is often due to the fact that they have a plan and are feeling more hopeful that they will soon be free of emotional pain.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Listen – showing you care can make the difference between a person attempting suicide or seeking help
- Learn to recognize the subtle clues and warning signs of the troubled individual. When you suspect someone is suicidal, contact an expert who can provide practical, knowledgeable aid.
( resources in Santa Barbara are listed below)
- Help the person to see that they are in crisis and that their feelings are temporary and will subside and heal with psychological help
- If you suspect someone is suicidal don’t be afraid to talk about it. The clues that you may be seeing or hearing are often an unconscious invitation for you to help. Most suicidal people have opposing feelings about dying. Ask the person about their feelings and share the changes or clues that you have noticed. Let the person know that you want to help.
SANTA BARBARA RESOURCES
24-hour Helpline, Santa Barbara Family Service Agency
(805) 692-4011 or 211
Santa Barbara County Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation Team
Santa Barbara City College Personal Counselors
(805) 965-0581 x2298
M-Th 8am-6pm, W 8-7, F 8am-3pm