The suicide rate in the U.S. has been climbing at an alarming rate and is at its highest point in 30 years.
We have a responsibility as a community to look for the warning signs and know ways that we can help those around us. Depression often lingers below the surface and many who struggle suffer in silence.
Warning Signs to Look For
- Talking about suicide or talking about death
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and loneliness
- Persistent sadness
- Changes in sleep – excessive sleeping or the inability to sleep
- Anger or talking of revenge
- Giving away possessions
- Sudden happiness after prolonged depression
- Difficulty enjoying activities that he/she once enjoyed
- Over-eating or under-eating.
- Reckless behavior
Most people feel significantly better within 4-6 weeks of treatment.
What You Can Do:
- Listen – Often times people really need someone to see them, hear them and empathize with their darkest struggles. Check-in over the days and weeks following if possible.
- Ask – “How are you really doing?” Most likely they have been lying about how bad things are for a long time.
- Recognize the Warning Signs and let them know that you care and the world needs them.
- Find out if they have thought about or have a plan for suicide. If they tell you that they have a plan, get professional help immediately. It’s better to lose a friendship than lose a friend.
- Call 911 – take every threat seriously.
- Trust your instinct if think someone is in danger.
- Insist that this WILL PASS and things will get better.
- Remind them that they are not alone. Millions of people have been right where they are and made it through.
- Share with them this letter written To Anyone Who Feels Like Giving Up
- Share 25 Ways to Fight Depression.
- Stay with the person if they are at high risk.
- Assemble a care team. Create a group of people who can periodically check-in, help out, and pray (without overwhelming the person)
- Let them know help is available 24/7.
- Share that most people see significant progress through counseling and offer to help them find someone.
- Help them focus on the good things in their life.
- Ask God to show you ways to make this person feel deep in their core that they are loved and valued.
- Host an event with a suicide speaker and provide an outlet for those in your community who are struggling. Visit my speaking page here.
What Not to Do:
- Dismiss the way they are feeling.
- Ignore the warning signs.
- Tell them they are over-reacting or being dramatic.
- Try to “fix” them.
- Hold a large group intervention.
- Tell a lot of people about their struggle or post about them on social media.
- Expect them to get better immediately.
Read more about my story here.
U.S. National Suicide Hotline:
Crisis Text Line: Get free help now:
Text CONNECT to 741741.