On this World Suicide Prevention Day, AdEase wants to empower Californians with the knowledge to recognize warning signs for suicide and to intervene to save a life.
Every day, there are family and friends who suffer with emotional pain. While they might feel alone and unable to speak up, it is important for us to know the warning signs of suicide, find the right words to talk about it with a loved one in crisis, and reach out to local resources.
AdEase launched the statewide Know the Signs campaign in 2012 to educate individuals about the warning signs of suicide. It’s helping Californians learn how to break down the barriers of stigma, fear and doubt and to talk about suicide directly. It’s teaching people about the resources that are available in their community. AdEase also runs similar campaigns called It’s Up to Us in San Diego and Riverside Counties.
The warning signs for suicide are not always obvious and can be different for each individual but a few to look out for are withdrawal, depression and hopelessness. Additional signs of concern can be lack of sleep, increased substance use and reckless behavior, which can point to emotional pain. These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide, but risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
Offering support starts with a simple sentence, but there are few phrases as difficult to say to a loved one as “Are you thinking of ending your life?” However, when it comes to preventing suicide, none are more critical. Don’t hesitate to show concern and take the first step in offering help and support to a loved one.
Most importantly, we are not alone in the process of helping someone in need. If the person is experiencing a suicidal crisis, they should not be left alone and you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) where a trained counselor will be able to listen and offer advice and support.
Learn the full list of warning signs, get tips on how to have a conversation or to find national and local suicide crisis resources at www.suicideispreventable.org.