A mixture of individual, relationship, community, and other external factors contribute to the risk of suicide.
Risk factors are those attributes associated with suicide—they might not be direct causes.
Here are the danger signs to look out for:
1. Excessive sadness or moodiness: Sadness over extended periods, mood swings, and unexpected, uncontrollable rage.
2. Difficulty in getting to sleep or disturbances in sleep patterns.
3. Hopelessness: Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future, with little expectation that an individual’s circumstances can improve.
4. Withdrawal from society: Choosing to isolate and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression, a leading cause of suicide.
5. Unexpected calmness: Suddenly becoming calm after an extended period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has decided to bring his or her life to an end.
6. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed. For example, someone who liked watching sports is no longer bothered about his or her favourite team.
7. Changes in personality and/or appearance: A person who is considering suicide might exhibit a change in attitude or behaviour, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. Besides, the person might suddenly become less concerned about his or her appearance and become unkempt.
8. Recent trauma or life crisis: A major negative life event might trigger a suicide attempt. Such negative events include the death of a loved one, divorce or break-up of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.
9. Dangerous or risk-taking behaviour: Potentially dangerous behaviour, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of hard drugs and/or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.
10. Signalling/Making preparations: Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide. Some will buy the items they intend to use in the act such as rope or poison.
11. Threatening or talking about suicide: From 50% to 75% of those considering suicide will give someone — a friend or relative — a warning sign. However, not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. Every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
WHO IS AT HIGHEST RISK OF SUICIDE?
Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. Suicide risk also is higher in the following groups:
– Older people who have lost a spouse through death or divorce
– A family history of suicide
– People with a previous history of attempted suicide
– People with a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
– People suffering from debilitating pain or a disabling or terminal illness
– Recent history of psychiatric hospitalization (This often is a very frightening period of transition.)
– Drug addicts
Although women are three times as likely to attempt suicide, men are far more likely to complete the act.
Check out for these risk signs in yourself and people close to you.
Talk out your issues, listen to other people’s issues too and you will be amazed how offloading the weight you carry in your emotions could be a life-changer.