I wanted to write this blog post to not only aggregate a lot of great resources for someone who is dealing with depression (or someone who knows someone who is dealing with depression but doesn’t know how to help their friend.)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in our national network of more than 163 crisis centers in 49 states.
Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. Its important to understand the disease both biologically and psychologically, detail resources here. Information about different programs for teens, the community, and professionals to help recognize warning signs in themselves and loved ones can be found here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2011:
- 39,518 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans
- Someone died by suicide every 13.3 minutes
- Highest suicide rate (18.6) was among people 45 to 64 years old
- 2nd highest rate (16.9) occurred in those 85 years and older.
- Adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 11.0
- 4 times higher among men than among women
- 78.5% were male and 21.5% were female
- Highest U.S. suicide rate (14.5) was among Whites and the second highest rate (10.6) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives
- 483,596 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior
- Suggests 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.
Here are some of the websites recommended by the Center of Disease Control:
- CDC Suicide Prevention
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
Risk and Environmental Factors
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
The most frequently cited risk factors for suicide are:
- Mental disorders, in particular:
- Depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
- Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence
- Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
- Conduct disorder (in youth)
- Psychotic disorders; psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Impulsivity and aggression, especially in the context of the above mental disorders
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of attempted or completed suicide
- Serious medical condition and/or pain
It is important to bear in mind that the large majority of people with mental disorders or other suicide risk factors do not engage in suicidal behavior.
Environmental Factors That Increase Suicide Risk
- A highly stressful life event such as losing someone close, financial loss, or trouble with the law
- Prolonged stress due to adversities such as unemployment, serious relationship conflict, harassment or bullying
- Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide (contagion)
- Access to lethal methods of suicide during a time of increased risk
Suicide Prevention and Resources
About 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
What To Do When You Suspect Someone May Be at Risk for Suicide
Take it Seriously
- 50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention.
- If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is now.
- Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them.
- Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide.
- Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.
- Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted.
- Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know that you care, that they are not alone and that they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”
Encourage Professional Help
- Actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
- People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment. If they will let you, go to the appointment with them.
- If the person is threatening, talking about, or making specific plans for suicide, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave the person alone.
- Remove any firearms, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used for suicide from the area.
- Take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.
- If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for assistance.
Follow-Up on Treatment
Still skeptical that they can be helped, the suicidal person may need your support to continue with treatment after the first session.
If medication is prescribed, support the person to take it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects, and notify the person who prescribed the medicine if the suicidal person seems to be getting worse, or resists taking the medicine. The doctor can often adjust the medications or dosage to work better for them.
Help the person understand that it may take time and persistence to find the right medication and the right therapist. Offer your encouragement and support throughout the process, until the suicidal crisis has passed.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’
Additionally you can go to a:
- ?Psychiatric hospital walk-in clinic
- ?Hospital emergency room
- ?Urgent care center/clinic
- ?Call 911
- Main Website
- Resources for Veterans
- Resources for Teens
Social Media Safety Teams
If there’s someone posting information from their social media account that you think might be related to suicidal thoughts, you can reach out to the social media team for help. Details updated here.
- Facebook: Click here to anonymously report someone as suicidal on Facebook. A member of Facebook’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number and possibly a link to chat with Lifeline counselor.
- Twitter: Click here and select “Self-Harm” to send an e-mail to Twitter reporting a suicidal user. Twitter will send the user a direct message with the Lifeline number.
- MySpace: Click on the “Report Abuse” link that appears at the bottom of every MySpace page and complete the form. MySpace will then send an e-mail to the MySpace user with the Lifeline number.
- YouTube: To report suicidal content, click on the flag icon under a video and select “Harmful Dangerous Acts” and then “Suicide or Self-Injury.” You Tube will then review the video and may send a message to the user that uploaded the video with the Lifeline number.
- Tumblr: Click here to write an e-mail to Tumblr about a suicidal user. Include as much information as possible including the URL of the Tumblr blog. A member of Tumblr’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number. – See more at: http://www.youmatter.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/get-help/help-online/#sthash.qB6PDp5x.dpuf
There continues to be a lot of research done in this area, the latest can be found here and touches on topics and findings that include:
- Educating the Medical Community to Recognize and Treat Depression
- System-wide Suicide Prevention Approaches: the U.S. Air Force as a Model Program
- Limiting Access to Means of Suicide
- Media Guidelines for Reporting on Suicide
- Follow-up Interventions for Suicide Attempters that Reduce Suicide
- Postcard Intervention to Decrease Suicide Attempts
- Targeted Psychotherapy for Suicide Attempters
- Medication Treatment for Depression
- Screening and Engaging Individuals in Clinical Treatment
You can also check out facts and figures here.