The Warning Signs
The warning signs of an impending suicide attempt are not always obvious. It is unfortunately common for the people left behind to initially say that they saw no indication that anything was wrong, only to realize later that there were indeed signals. It can be a difficult realization that often leaves lingering doubts about whether or not the person could have been “saved” if someone had noticed the signs in time. This line of thinking is ill-advised and destructive but seemingly unavoidable given the circumstances. For these and other reasons it is a good idea to become familiar with the warning signs for suicide.
One of the most prominent but least recognized suicide warning signs is a sudden and drastic change in behavior. This may seem obvious if the behavior changes from positive to negative but quite often the opposite is true. On the surface a quick shift to a good mood isn’t likely to raise any alarms. When given some deeper consideration it should become apparent that real improvements in psychological states don’t usually happen instantly, especially for people who have been deeply unhappy for extended periods of time. Instead, the change may be a result of them having made the decision to commit suicide, which can generate a false sense of relief as it has by this point become internally idealized as their only means of escape.
There are several suicide warning signs that are more obvious due to their overtly negative nature. Preoccupation with death, talking about suicide, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal, loss of interests and increased risk-taking behaviors are just a few examples of warning signs that can be spotted if you know about them. Unfortunately, while they are very common, these warning signs aren’t always present and there are situations where suicide is committed by literally the last person you would expect.
If you suspect that someone may be contemplating suicide, reach out to them and then contact a health care provider.
HK: The Samaritans Hotline: 2896-0000
OZ: Beyond Blue
Lifeline: 13114 Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467