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The signs of suicide can include thoughts of suicide or planning, a suicide attempt or an actual suicide.  It’s not always easy to notice the risk factors or pick out the signs of suicide, but suicide prevention can save lives.The pain of suicide and the stress of suicide attempts or suicidal behavior can spread throughout a community.  This includes family, friends, co-workers and military friends or buddies.  Most everyone knows someone whose life has been turned upside down by a suicide or an attempted suicide in their circle.  Each person who commits suicide leaves behind six to 15 people who have been intimately affected by suicide.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.  It’s important that people who might be affected by suicidal behavior recognize the signs of suicide in advance so that suicide prevention methods can be implemented and lives can be saved.

Some of the most common signs of suicide risk are:

Problems with Relationships – A loved one or close friend passing on, a divorce or the break-up of a relationship are very stressful events in one’s life and can lead to suicidal thoughts or other signs of suicide.

Substance Abuse – Many people turn to alcohol and drugs when trying to cope with stressful situations in life.  If alcohol or drug use seems to be suddenly escalating then this may be a sign that there is trouble.  When using drugs and alcohol to cope, inhibitions are lifted and people can engage in risky behavior.  They can become careless in the use of weapons or medications and this can lead to an intentional or accidental suicide, especially is other signs of suicide are present.

Difficulty Coping With Life Stressors – The stress that comes with life can become overwhelming for some.  Having problems at work, being involved with legal issues whether it is military or civilian, having financial problems or dealing with health issues can be overwhelming.  If someone is facing these kinds of stressors alone, or they are also dealing with other risk factors, then this could contribute to increased risk for suicide, so be sure to check for other signs of suicide.

Mental Health Issues – Overwhelming stress can lead to anxiety, depression and adjustment problems.  It’s not at all unusual that people withdraw from friends or family when trying to deal with stress.  This withdrawal from their support system makes coping even more difficult.  As someone continues to isolate themselves it becomes very hard for their family, friends, co-workers or military buddies to figure out that they’re barely able to cope.  Without their support system close by it’s easy for someone to feel hopelessness, helpless and afraid for their future.  Hopelessness, helplessness and feelings of overwhelm can be signs of suicide.

If someone is dealing with one or more risk factors it may or may not indicate a sign of suicide.  But these risk factors have been shown to be linked to suicidal behavior and are recognized signs of suicide risk.  We can make a difference when we observe these signs of suicide risk factors by talking to the person involved about their stress.  We can reassure them that we care and go out of our way to help those family members, friends, co-workers or buddies.

Every year tens of thousands of people are going to counseling for problems in their marriages or relationships, issues with abusing alcohol or drugs, dealing with depression, coping with PTST and life stress.

It’s important to pay close attention to loved ones and watch for changes in their behavior or actions.  We need to get involved and reach out to those we see in our life that are struggling.  If you see someone changing or observe that something just isn’t right or seems “off” don’t hesitate, talk to them.  Ask the hard question, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”  Show them in word and deed that you care and offer help and do not ignore the signs of suicide.

Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful suicide prevention treatment methods.  The foundation of our suicide prevention treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression, signs of suicide and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of suicide, depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Suicide prevention, treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.