As a woman of 60 years, I have personally lost my mom, sister, and brother to suicide. This is what motivated me to write an article for World Suicide Prevention Day. Here I share with you information and resources you may need if you ever find yourself in this type of situation.
Causes of Suicide
Typically, people who think about or attempt suicide do so because they feel as though they can no longer cope with life. They may feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, or lonely, and they might believe that suicide is their only choice.
These feelings may arise because of many situations, including but not limited to:
- Military service
- The breakdown of a relationship
- Financial or legal issues
Other causes and triggers for suicidal thoughts and attempts may include:
- Physical discomfort
- Conflict with family or friends
- The illness or death of a family member
- Feeling hopeless
Among males specifically, some significant triggers include:
- Being single
- Financial distress
Males are at higher risk than females; studies suggest that females tend to attempt suicide more often than males, but that males die by suicide more often than females.
Other risk factors for suicide include:
- A personal history of suicide attempts
- A history of experiencing physical or sexual abuse
- Having a mental health disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder
- Having a medical condition, such as chronic pain or terminal illness, which increases the risk of depression
- Alcohol and drug misuse or abuse
- Having suicidal thoughts and access to means of suicide, such as firearms or medication
- Being gay, bisexual, or transgender and experiencing discrimination or not receiving support from others
- A family history of mental illness, suicide, or substance abuse
Although having a mental health disorder, such as depression, is a risk factor for suicide, not everyone who attempts suicide will have a known mental illness.
Warning Signs of Suicide or Suicidal Thoughts Among Males Include
- Extreme mood swings
- Talking about suicide, death, or dying
- An increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Changes to a person’s eating or sleeping habits or other aspects of their usual routine
- Changes in personality, such as severe anxiety or feelings of hopelessness
- Isolating oneself from others
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Buying a firearm or other means to die by suicide
- Giving away money or belongings
- Saying goodbye to people as if they will not see them again
Not everyone will show signs of suicidal thoughts. Even if/when they do, the signs may be subtle. They can vary significantly from person to person.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, belts, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.