The Stigma of Suicide
Stigmas surrounding suicide are widely prevalent in society today. Many people experiencing uncontrollable mental health conditions or suicidal behavior have been made to feel fearful of the reactions of peers, co-workers, family, and society. In actuality, continuing to treat suicide as a taboo subject only perpetuates feelings of isolation and shame, and detracts from crucial suicide prevention resources for those at risk. Experts agree that concerted efforts to eliminate the stigmatization of suicide are necessary in order to eventually lower the suicide rate in the U.S.
Identifying the warning signs of suicide can often mean the difference between life and death. The importance of recognizing common warning signs of suicidal behavior and knowing when to take action in this emergency situation cannot be overstated. While risk may be high for suicidal behavior, displaying warning signs of suicide such as threatening to kill him or herself, pursuing lethal means and/or a dramatic shift in mood, should be taken seriously as this behavior indicates the immediate risk of suicide as opposed to simply a likelihood. Studies show that, while risk factors can affect an entire demographic and occur more frequently in certain communities or cultures, warning signs are specific to the individual who is in crisis and in need of immediate professional medical intervention.
10 MOST COMMON WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE
• Extreme mood swings and/or personality changes
• Increased fixation on death, suicide and/or violence
• Withdrawal from family and friends
• Communicating feelings of hopelessness, such as saying they have “no reason to live”
• Communicating a desire/plan to die by suicide
• Giving away belongings/items of special meaning or significance
• Obtaining a weapon or other means of lethal self-harm
• Increased alcohol and/or substance abuse
• Engaging in risky and/or dangerous behavior
• Loss of interest in people, things, places and activities they previously cared about.