How to Recognize the Signs of a Suicidal Person

By Shannon Gosney
In Lifestyle
September 26, 2009

After reading an article on today’s National News and writing a post today, I decided it might be helpful to somebody somewhere to talk about the signs of suicide.  It’s something we are taught in school, but as adults, I think it’s something that is important enough to be reminded of.

Here are some of the Signs of a Person Contemplating Suicide:

Talks about dying (whether talking about dying, harming oneself, disappearing – this can be done in a joking or serious manner)

Having no hope in the future (thinking that things will never change or get any better)

Losing interest in things (when the person loses interest in things that he or she used to enjoy)

Giving away possessions or saying goodbye (the person may also make last minute changes, such as changing his or her will and putting affairs into order)

Change in personality and behavior (becoming sad, irritable, anxious, and withdrawing from those around him/her; also not being able to concentrate on tasks, school, or work)

Change in sleeping and eating patterns (having nightmares and insomnia; loss of appetite and weight or overeating)

– Low self-esteem (this includes feeling worthless, having an overwhelming sense of guilt, making statements like “the world would be better without me”)

If you notice someone with these signs, what should you do?

Take them seriously!  If someone is exhibiting any of the above signs, take them seriously!  Listen to them and what they are saying.  Don’t try to talk them out of it, just listen to them.  Help them to know that you care and are there for them as a friend.

Call a Suicide Hotline!  1-800-SUICIDE is one I found online that may be helpful.

Remove dangerous objects!  DO NOT leave them alone!  Remove any dangerous objects, including weapons or drugs he or she could use. 

Encourage him or her to seek counseling.  Be supportive of the counseling and if he/she has to take antidepressants.

I found this very interesting if you are contemplating whether a person is suicidal.  P.L.A.I.D.P.A.L.S.  It stands for:

Plan – Do they have one?

Lethality – Is it lethal?  Can they die?

Availability – Do they have the means to carry it out?

Illness – Do they have a physical or mental illness? 

Depression – Chronic or specific incidents?

Previous Attempts – How many?  Were they recent?

Alone – Are they alone?  Do they have a support system?

Loss – Have they suffered a loss?  Such as a job, relationship, death, esteem?

Substance Abuse or Use – Drugs, alcohol, or medicine?

I feel like this is relevant and important information we should all know so that we can help those around us who might need it the most.

About Has 4151 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

10 Responses to “How to Recognize the Signs of a Suicidal Person”

  1. Taminar says:

    One of my husband’s co-workers committed suicide a few weeks ago. My husband did not know him well, but they’d run into each other in the kitchen or hallway, and sometimes this guy would make certain comments about trouble at home. DH was surprised at some of the things he would say to him, a virtual stranger. The last time my husband saw him, it was in the kitchen and they joked around some, and he didn’t seem depressed or troubled at all. We figure either he was having a good day and something happened in the next day or two that caused the bottom to drop out for him, OR he had already made up his mind to do it, and that took some of the weight off his shoulders. He never said anything to DH that made him think he was contemplating suicide or he would’ve said something to someone.

  2. Doreen says:

    Yes, this is serious and good information here!

  3. Kayla says:

    Unfortunately, I know how this goes.
    I still fight the depression and S.I. to this day-Hopefully this info will help someone in need!

  4. Tamara B. says:

    I am so sorry for anyone who has these thoughts, God Bless!

  5. Charlene Kuser says:

    Everyone should read this,sometimes you can’t really tell and alot of times they just
    don’t think there is a way out

  6. This is wonderful information to share with everone in this economy. It seems as if more and more people are in despair, with job loss, homes in forclosure, and a generalized anxiety in the air.
    Thank you for taking the time to point this out, Shannon.
    I have been in such a situation in the past, and it is VERY hard to get out of it, but with the help of couselors, friends, and yes, sometimes often medication, it can be overcome.
    Have a great week everyone.

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