If you suspect that a loved one is contemplating suicide, there are some things that you should know:
- Talk to your teen often about their feelings, values, and ideas.
- Practice active listening by validating your child’s feelings and asking clarifying questions to better understand the situation. The expression of suicidal thoughts should always be taken seriously.
- Keep all conversations open and honest. Create a safe space with your kids so they feel comfortable coming to you if they start to have concerning thoughts.
- Regularly tell your teen what you love about her/his personality.
- Show interest in your child’s everyday life, talking about their highs and lows.
- Encourage your teen to be active. Exercise releases endorphins, hormones that are linked to improving one’s mood and easing pain.
- Make sure your teen knows about helplines that they can call or text for immediate anonymous support.
- Consult a mental health professional. Learn more about Youth Mental Health providers in our System of Care.
- Listen for red flag phrases, such as:
- “Nothing really matters.”
- “Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep and not wake up.”
- “No one really cares about me, anyway.”
- “People would be better off without me.”
- “I wonder who would come to my funeral if I died.”
- Let your teen know he/she is not alone. Make sure they know you will be right there with them no matter what and will help them through counseling or treatment if they need it.
- If you suspect your child might be having suicidal thoughts, it is extremely important to keep firearms, alcohol, and medications securely locked away.
An average of 8 percent of American teens attempt suicide each year, according to the CDC.
Listed below, in no particular order, are a few examples of suicide warning signs. Please note, all of the warning signs do not have to be present at once. However, if you notice a combination of any or all of these signs, take note as the person may be at risk.
- Previous suicide attempts
- Experiencing problems with an intimate partner
- Having experienced a friend’s or relative’s suicide
- Looking for a way/means to kill himself or herself
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Talking about feeling hopeless, having no purpose and/or wanting to die
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Acting anxious/agitated
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Decreased concern about personal hygiene
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Withdrawing from others or feeling isolated
- Changing diet, including a lack of appetite
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
It is important to provide support for a person experiencing signs of suicide until professional help is available. Listed below are a few tips on how to help.
- Make sure the person is not left alone unless they pose a threat to the safety of others
- Listen carefully to what the person has to say
- Do not be judgmental, argue with the person, or agree to keep their feelings a secret
- Call the the local Suicide Prevention Hotline at 614.221.5445 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 for help
- In cases of emergency, call 911 for assistance
- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
Source: Mental Health First Aid USA and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- In January of 2020 alone, Franklin County lost 20 individuals to suicide.
- For every 100,000 persons in Franklin County, 11.7 will complete suicide. This is higher than the national average of 11.5 completed suicides per every 100,000 persons.
- In Ohio, males age 85+ have the highest suicide rate at 41.9 per 100,000. In comparison, the suicide rate among women was highest among those aged 45-54 at 9.4 per 100,000.
- Suicide rates for white, non-Hispanic males in Ohio were four times higher than that of white, non-Hispanic females and two times higher than rates for black, non-Hispanic males.
- 30% of Ohio suicide victims had evidence of an intimate partner problem at the time of death.
- Nearly half of all Ohio suicide victims were diagnosed with a mental health issue.