September is Suicide Prevention Month, and while suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, it is important to learn more about suicide prevention, and to educate others. Many people who intend to attempt suicide give some clues to the people around them: knowing those clues and what to do if you notice them can save a life.
Signs include talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, or withdrawing from social support. You should never assume that a loved one is not serious – make sure that you are listening to what they are saying. If someone you know may be at risk for suicide, learn to ACT.
Acknowledge that something is wrong. Let them know that what they are saying has you concerned.
Care by showing your love and support. People often consider suicide when they feel alone in the world or think they are not understood. Let them know that you are there to listen, and help them avoid dangerous situations. Caring includes asking the hard question, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” While many people worry that talking about suicide will give a person the idea, scores of studies show the opposite. It actually gives them an opening to talk about something with which they struggle.
Treat the problem. Most people who die by suicide are dealing with mental illness or other stressors that make them feel hopeless. There are many resources available to people who are having suicidal thoughts, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).