Recent news of celebrity suicides has heightened concern and generated interest in learning more about this important subject. Newly published research reveals that suicide rates have dramatically increased in the last decade. Suicide is a profoundly disturbing event and many people respond with confusion, fear, and anger when confronting it.
If someone you know admits to having suicidal thoughts, what would you say? What would you do? Those are very difficult questions for anyone—even a mental health professional—to face. But as a friend or family member, you should know what to look for and how to respond.
Warning signs common to most suicides:
- Talking about suicide and death
- Threatening or hinting at suicide
- Tidying up his or her affairs: drawing up a will, giving away possessions
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Withdrawing from social interaction
- Sudden neglect in appearance
- Sudden drug or alcohol abuse
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family or peers who have recently attempted or committed suicide
What can you do?
- Talk to them. Be direct.
- Talk honestly and openly about the subject. If the person appears to be suicidal but hasn’t indicated any intentions, ask the question, “Are you having thoughts about suicide?” Let the person know that it is okay to share thoughts and feelings with you. Ask when, where and how he or she plans to commit suicide.
- Listen. Refrain from being judgmental. Don’t lecture.
- Acknowledge his or her feelings. Be empathetic, patient and compassionate.
- Don’t challenge. Avoid arguments. Instead, concentrate on listening, understanding and getting help.
Help from Our EAP
No-cost, 24/7 confidential assistance is available to employees through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Our EAP is provided through GuidanceResources®. GuidanceResources can be reached at 1-844-285-1067, through the free GuidanceResources Now mobile app or register online at www.GuidanceResources.com. (See your Benefits Guide or contact the Benefits Team or your manager for the Organization Web ID.)
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