Suicide is a difficult and complex topic, but it’s important to know how to recognize when someone you care about may be experiencing thoughts about self-harm. Sometimes, the warning signs can be so subtle, they get dismissed as something less harmful. However, being informed and aware could be the difference between life and death for someone you love who’s grappling with suicidal thoughts. Let’s introduce some ways to educate yourself on the warning signs and how to open up conversations with loved ones who need support and resources right now.
It can be difficult to imagine someone close to you having thoughts of suicide. However, it’s important to understand that anyone can experience feelings of hopelessness or despair, even those who appear to have it all together on the surface. By recognizing the suicide warning signs, you can show your loved ones that you care and are there to support them through the darkest of times. Some common signs to look out for include talking about feeling trapped or wanting to die or feeling trapped, withdrawing from friends and family, and suddenly giving away prized possessions. Remember, if you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available 24/7 through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.
Suicide Is More Common Than You May Realize
Most suicides are not reported in the news so you may assume it happens less often than it really does. Statistics tell a different story, though. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, was responsible for nearly 46,000 deaths back in 2020. An estimated 12.2 million Americans thought about suicide, 3.2 made a plan, and 1.2 attempted it in a year coinciding with the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and marked by an extended period of social isolation.
Untreated Mental Health Disorders
Despite being a critical part of overall well-being, mental health can get overlooked. They may ignore mental health symptoms or simply lack access to proper resources to treat anxiety, depression, trauma, or some other mental health need. Left untreated, these conditions can worsen and become more harmful to a person.
Risks from Neglecting Mental Health Needs
Neglecting your mental health can have serious consequences that manifest in different ways. It can affect relationships with friends and family, affect your ability to hold down a job, and even get out of bed in the morning. It may grow into acts of self-harm, such as cutting, and move to substance use. The ultimate harmful behavior, of course, begins with suicidal thoughts and making plans to end your life. Untreated mental health disorders also may leave people with thinking they’re too weak to handle life, instead of seeing the need for help as a normal human quality.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Before an attempt to take one’s life even happens, there may be signs of an imminent act of self-harm. Knowing how to recognize these suicide warning signs in a loved one can become a life-saving piece of information. You want to look for changes in behavior as a clue. It could be a loved one withdrawing from close friends, talking frequently about feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, or a sudden choice to give away prized possessions. You may notice changes in eating and sleeping habits, sharp mood changes, or increase use of drugs and alcohol. When you see something change and pose more of a threat to your loved one’s well-being, it’s time to intervene.
Benefits of the Baker Act in Florida
The Baker Act in Florida is a law that allows people who are experiencing a mental health crisis to be involuntarily admitted for evaluation and treatment. It’s named after Maxine Baker, the late member of the Florida House of Representatives, who advocated for better treatment of people with mental illness. While it can be a difficult decision to make, sometimes it’s necessary to provide immediate help for someone who is a danger to themselves or others. The Baker Act provides a legal pathway to get people into the care they need, and to help them get better. It’s important to note, however, that being Baker Acted doesn’t mean that someone is “crazy” or “dangerous.” Mental health challenges can affect anyone, and it’s important to let your loved one know that recognizing their own need for help is a sign of strength.
Get Help in Florida
The potential for suicide is a serious issue that requires immediate attention, and Hanley Center serves those in need and their families. Through our mental health programs, including residential treatment and a mental health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), we can help your loved ones safely deal with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or trauma that have threatened their lives.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call 911 for emergency services or 988 for the national suicide and crisis hotline.
Hanley Center can help with unmet mental health needs. Contact us today to connect with our team of experienced and caring professionals who can provide effective treatment and long-term support.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.