Recognizing signs of suicidal thoughts: what to watch for and do

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Suicide is one of the top causes of death in the U.S. and rates are rising across the country. 

Psychologists say signs of suicide are not always very clear, but there are changes in behavior that make it obvious that someone is dealing with depression and or suicidal thoughts.

“A very popular misconception is that if people talk about suicide they won’t do it and that is not true,” explained therapist Lauren Self. 

In 2017 the suicide rate in the U.S. Increased 3.7 percent more than the year before. 

“Every single time that word is used, I encourage people to take it very seriously. I hear it all the time and that’s the one big thing that I really wish people would understand, is that just because someone is talking about it does not mean they wont do it,” Self continued. 

Learning suicide warning signs may save a life. Those signs may be difficult to notice, so focusing on changes in behavior is important.

“Giving away stuff; the lack of interests in activities they used to enjoy; isolating themselves from their support system or their families or their friends; they might start sleeping more than usual or less than usual,” said Self.  

Children display suicidal thoughts in a more concrete way. “Like this bullying, I just can’t take it anymore. My mom and dad would be a lot happier if I wasn’t here or my sister would love to be an only child,” Self explained. 

Negative life events, health issues and even the holidays can be trigger for some. If you’re concerned, therapists say ask the person about it directly and get them professional treatment. 

“Don’t be judgmental about anything they say, that’s one of the reasons a lot of people don’t want to talk about it with people, because they’ll say, ‘you don’t have it that bad, it’s really not that bad,’ and that’s one of the worst things you can say to someone,” said Self. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs confidential help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) anytime of day. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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