Suicide is a serious problem in this country. It is currently the second leading cause of death for youth between 16 and 24. Suicide is serious and if you know someone who you feel might be suicidal the following information may be of help to you. Please remember that if you are supporting someone who is suicidal, it is very important for you to remember to take care of yourself as well.
Eight out of ten people who kill themselves have given definite clues as to their intentions. The following are some of the more common clues.
The information below can also be found in this third party suicide kit prepared by our centre. In additon, the kit contains more details on how to help someone who may be thinking about suicide.
If someone you know is displaying the below "warning signs or clues" they may be seriously considering suicide. This does not mean that they are "crazy" but probably means they have too much pain in their life right now and cannot find a way to manage it.
Depressed and sad
Mood change (depressed to elated or vice versa)
Inability to concentrate, agitated
Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-hate
Sudden change in behaviour
Giving away favorite possessions
Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Thanking people for their kindness, settling affairs, tying up loose ends, writing good-bye letters
Previous suicide attempt by themselves or family members or friends
Loss of interest in appearance
Loss of interest in friends, activities, and/or intimate (or sexual) relationships
Loss of energy
Poor sleep habits (either sleeping all the time or hardly ever sleeping)
Weight gain or loss
No longer communicating effectively with others, isolating themselves
Speaks of not being here in the future: e.g. "They'd be better off without me" or "You won't have to worry about me much longer"
A noticeable absence of any future in conversation
Asks questions about dying
Talks openly about suicide
Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
Be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture on the value of life.
Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
Don't dare him or her to do it.
Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you.
Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support. Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Many people at some time in their lives think about committing suicide. Most decide to live, because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and things they experience:
Can't stop the pain
Can't think clearly
Can't make decisions
Can't see any way out
Can't sleep, eat or work
Can't get out of depression
Can't make the sadness go away
Can't see a future without pain
Can't see themselves as worthwhile
Can't get someone's attention
Can't seem to get control
If you experience these feelings, get help!
If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!
A community mental health agency
A private therapist or counsellor
A school counsellor or psychologist
A family physician
A Crisis Centre
Stay with them or arrange for someone to be there.
Remove lethal weapons or other methods on hand.
Get help - don't try to carry this responsibility alone.
Above all, have the courage to act. It is worth the risk of "overreacting" if it averts a tragedy.
Business Line: 250-564-5736
Sandra Boulianne, Executive Director: 250-564-9658
Megan Usipuik, Program Coordinator: 250-564-9312
Crisis Prevention, Intervention and Information Centre for Northern BC
Fifth Floor, 1600 3rd Avenue
Prince George, BC
Accredited by American Association of Suicidology.