Five ways someone will tell you they are contemplating suicide
September 06, 2022
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, WI – Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. In addition, for each completed suicide, there are more than 20 attempts.
Navigating a pandemic and national unrest may contribute to these troubling statistics, as fear and anxiety may overcome us as we’re trying to understand what’s happening around us.
People of all genders, ages and ethnicities can be at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. During September’s National Suicide Prevention Month, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals remind everyone that if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are resources available.
In July, a new, nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was launched: 988. You can call, text or chat this three-digit number which connects people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline where free and confidential help is available 24/7. Trained counselors will listen, offer support and connect those in crisis with additional resources if necessary.
Toni Simonson, executive director of behavioral health for HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals says it’s important to not only take note of your own feelings on a regular basis, but also of those around you.
“The word ‘suicide’ carries a sigma and talking about it is thought of as taboo, but now more than ever it’s important to openly discuss it if we want to prevent it,” says Simonson. “It’s also important to recognize the clues a person may be contemplating suicide.”
Five ways someone may tell you they are contemplating suicide:
- They give a direct verbal clue by saying something like “I’m going to end it all,” or “I wish I were dead.”
- They give a coded verbal clue by saying something like “I’m tired of life. I just want out,” or “I can’t take it anymore.”
- They exhibit behavioral clues like increased risk-taking, self-injurious behavior, drug or alcohol use, sleeping too much or too little, saying goodbye to friends and family and/or giving away prized possessions.
- They take on blame for situations like being fired from a job, being diagnosed with a serious illness or being bullied or humiliated.
- They showcase a noticeable change in mood such as depression, anxiety, withdrawal from activities, irritability and/or shame.
The National Institute of Mental Health provides additional warning signs and resources for those in or near crisis.
Simonson says if you suspect someone is thinking about completing suicide it’s important to directly ask “Are you thinking about suicide?” “If you practice it, it won’t be so hard to ask if you ever have to ask someone in a real-life situation,” she says. “Also, sometimes people who are considering suicide are relieved if you ask because it indicates that someone is noticing their struggle.”
For more information about how you can help someone struggling with behavioral health challenges and stress, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin