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FC Home Symptoms & Warning Signs Suicide Prevention

SUICIDE PREVENTION | Print |

WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE?

Below is information that has been re-printed from WebMD on suicide.   If you are experiencing feelings of depression or think that life is not worth living, please call the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities at (404) 613-3675.   Our Behavioral Health Access & Information Line is available Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.   If you need assistance after those hours, please call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.   You also can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889.

 ReneeRadio

Meanwhile, Renee Lee-Ferguson, Behavioral Health Program Manager with the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, was interviewed by WCLK Radio (91.9 FM) on suicide, depression, and suicide prevention.   Below is a link to the interview.    

Renee Lee-Ferguson on WCLK Radio (91.9 FM), August 2014

According to WebMD (www.webmd.com), depression and suicide can sometime go hand-in-hand.   But, it is important to remember that suicide can be prevented.   In most cases, there are warning signs that an individual is considering a  suicide attempt.   The most effective way to prevent suicide is to recognize the warning signs, and respond immediately.

Upset woman  

Some warning signs of suicide include the following behaviors:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Frequently talking about death
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless - saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
  • Individual exhibits signs of depression, including deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating
  • Abrupt change of mood, from extreme sadness to happiness or calm
  • Risk-taking behavior, (e.g. driving to fast)
  • Person exhibits loss of interest in things that he/she used to care about
  • Person calls or visits people to say good-bye
  • Person seems to be putting their affairs in order

According to WebMD, a person is at a higher risk of attempting suicide if he or she has a chronic or terminal illness, is separated or divorced, is underemployed or unemployed, or has a family history of suicide.   Be especially concerned about depression and suicide if a person exhibits any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past.   According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20% to 50% of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.  

HOW PREVALENT IS SUICIDE?

According to WebMD, suicide is a potentially preventable public health problem.   In 2006, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.   In the same year, there were more than 33,000 suicides - about 91 per day.   Men take their lives nearly four times the rate of women and account for 79% of all suicides in the U.S.

ARE THERE RISK FACTORS FOR SUICIDE?

Troubled man

Risk factors for thoughts of suicide can vary with age, gender, and ethnic group.   And risk factors often occur in combinations.  

Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.   Many times, people who die by suicide have a substance abuse problem.   Often they have that problem in combination with other mental disorders.   Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors, such as clinical depression, may lead to suicide.   But suicide and suicidal behavior are never normal responses to stress.

Other risk factors for suicide include:

  • One or more prior suicide attempts
  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Keeping firearms in the home
  • Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to suicidal behavior of others  

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF SOMEONE SHOWS WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE?

According to WebMD, if someone you know appears to be depressed and is contemplating suicide, take that person seriously!   Listen to what he or she is saying.   Take the initiative to ask that person what he or she is planning.   But don't attempt to argue him or her out of committing suicide.   Rather, let the person know that you care and understand and are listening.   Avoid statements like: "You have so much to live for."

 

If someone you   know appears to be depressed or talks about suicide, makes a suicidal gesture, or attempts suicide, take it as a serious emergency.   Listen to the person, but don't try to argue with him or her.   Seek immediate help from a health care professional.  

Depressed people are often suicidal.   It is a key symptom of the disease.   Some studies show that the neurotransmitter serotonin plas a central role in the neurobiology of suicide.   Researchers have found lower levels of serotonin in the brainstem and cerebrospinal fluid of suicidal individuals.   In addition, suicidal behavior sometimes runs in families.   Remember, any talk of suicide is always an emergency.   Have the person talk with a health care professional immediately.  

WHERE CAN I GET HELP FOR SUICIDE OR DEPRESSION?

Helping hands

Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional.   Because the person probably doesn't think it's possible to be helped, you'll probably have to be persistent and go with that person.

If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone.   Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use.   Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room.   During treatment, be supportive.   Help the person to remember to take antidepressant medications and to continue any other therapy that's been prescribed.  

If you are concerned that you, or someone that you know, may attempt suicide, please call the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities at (404) 613-3675.   Our Behavioral Health Access & Information Line is available Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.   If you need assistance after those hours, please call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.

 

 
 

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