Suicide is Preventable
It’s not always easy to recognize the warning signs that someone is thinking about ending their life, or to start that difficult conversation. What if you are mistaken? What if they get angry? Although there is no simple answer, it is safe to say that if you are concerned about someone else and your gut is telling you that something is off, you should not hesitate to take action.
Here’s what you can do:
Learn the warnings signs for suicide.
- Has the person been difficult to get in touch with? Reach out and be persistent.
- Start a conversation. Try something like: I am worried about you. It seems like something is bothering you. You don’t seem like yourself lately. How can I help?
- Don’t hesitate to ask direct questions, like: Are you depressed? Are you feeling like there is no way out? Are you thinking about ending your life?
- Ask for help. If you don’t feel like this is something you can take on, or you are not able to get through to the person, reach out to a friend, family member or a professional by calling the confidential San Diego Access & Crisis Line.
- Provide the person you are concerned about with resources and a number to call for help.
- Most importantly, if you are with a person who is thinking about ending their life:
- Stay with them
- Take them seriously
- Really listen to them
- Call for help immediately!
“People often fail to ask about suicide in the mistaken belief that posing the question may raise the person’s risk of suicide. But the contrary is true. In fact, asking about suicide sends a message that you care, and is a great opportunity to encourage the person showing the warning signs of suicide to seek professional help.” – Beth Sise, JD, RN, MSN, CPNP Director, Trauma Research & Injury Prevention at Scripps Mercy Hospital and Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan Committee
“I believe one barrier to speaking up is the fear of alienating a loved one who may be showing warning signs. There is also the silence and denial that sometimes grips a family after a suicide. They avoid talking about their loss and cannot imagine that another loved one would end their life. They carry their grief in silence and this precludes talking to a family member showing warning signs of suicide.” – Bonnie Bear Executive Director, Survivors of Suicide Loss
San Diego Access & Crisis Line
(800) 479-3339 Confidential, available 24/7 and in multiple languages.
Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
A program that provides outreach, education and training to assist adults and youth to ask for help for themselves and how to respond to others asking for help.
Survivors of Suicide Loss
A nonprofit, self-help support group system for those who have lost a loved one to suicide
For San Diego specific data and statistics, visit www.sdchip.org, go to CHIP Library and review the report: Suicide in San Diego County: 1996-2001.