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Warning Signs & Ways to Help

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 linger deep below the surface and many who struggle with it suffer in silence.

The Warning Signs of Suicide

Warning Signs

  • 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.
  • Anxiety
  • Anger or talking of revenge
  • Giving away possessions
  • Isolation
  • Sudden happiness after prolonged depression
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty enjoying activities that he/she once enjoyed
  • Over or under-eating.
  • Reckless behavior including
[Struggling? Check out this post 8 Ways to Fight Discouragement]

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. [Click here for suggested questions to ask someone who is struggling]
  • 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.
  • 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 have
    Consider
  • Share with them this letter written To Anyone Who Feels Like Giving Up
  • Stay with the person if they are at high risk.
  • Assemble a care team. Keep confidentiality but 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. Like a person suffering from anorexia who looks at their body wasting away and sees themselves as fat, so the mind warps during depression blocking out all signs of light.
  • Ask God to show you ways to make this person feel deep in their core that they are loved and valued.

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.