Note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
September 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week, which is why we’re outlining a few tips for how you can help prevent suicide throughout the year.
1. Know the Warning Signs
While there’s no single cause for suicide, there are prominent warning signs to look out for if you suspect someone might be suicidal.
- Negative talk, including making comments about wanting to die, expressing overwhelming hopelessness, stating that they have no reason to live, expressing concern that they’re a burden to others, or referring to unbearable pain
- A sudden change of behavior, including increased drinking and drug use, researching methods for suicide, preoccupation with violence and death, withdrawing from people and activities, sleep pattern changes, doing risky or self-destructive things, giving away prized possessions, contacting people to say goodbye
- Moodiness or frequently displaying negative emotions, including depression, anxiety, irritability, shame, anger, or sudden improvement or relief
- Environmental and historical factors, including prolonged stress, financial crisis, exposure to another person’s suicide, previous suicide attempts, a family history of suicide, or childhood abuse
2. Ask Hard Questions
If you suspect someone might be suicidal, one good course of action is to ask them if they are considering suicide. By being direct, you’ll communicate that you’re willing to discuss suicide in a supportive, unbiased, and non-judgmental way. You can also ask the individual how they’re hurting and how you can help. While it can be hard to hear about other’s pain, it’s important to listen to their specific answers and help them focus on their own reasons for living, not your personal reasons for living.
3. Remove Immediate Threats
Once you know that someone is suffering from suicidal ideation, it’s important to find out if they’re in immediate danger. You can do this by asking if they’ve already done anything to try to kill themselves, if they’ve determined how they would kill themselves, if there is a specific time they’re planning on doing it, and if they’ve already taken steps toward this goal. Studies have shown that if you can reduce a suicidal person’s access to their intended method, you can drastically decrease their chances of killing themselves by that method, and even other methods.
4. Provide Helpful Options
For many, financial hardship or a lack of insurance creates another barrier for seeking help. If someone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, try providing a list of therapy options or detailed information about anti-depressants that might benefit their condition. Even small barriers, like having to make a phone call to schedule the appointment, might prevent them from seeking help. So, if you’re able, offer to do so for them.
Financial concerns can be another barrier to seeking help. At Simplefill, we’re committed to making prescribed medications more affordable to our members. Some Simplefill eligible medications, including Cymbalta, Pristiq, Trintellix, Biibryd, Fetzima, and Symbyax can be helpful in treating depression. Just knowing how Simplefill works can help reassure individuals who are afraid they shouldn’t seek treatment because it isn’t financially viable.