Something like suicidal thoughts can be incredibly difficult to admit to not only other people, but to themselves. If you are reading this as you are experiencing these thoughts, please talk to someone – a friend, family member, or someone you trust.
Suicide is a huge problem as despite the vast numbers of those who die this way, we’re not 100% sure why. There are, however, individuals who are perhaps more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.
- Life History – where trauma during childhood, abuse and neglect may be present.
- Mental Health – Those diagnosed with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
- Lifestyle – Those who abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol. Also sexuality.
- Work – No progression opportunities, low satisfaction, no security/stability and unemployment
- Relationships – Breakdown in close relationships and feeling socially isolated
- Family – Your family history and genetics can make you more susceptible.
Additionally stressful events, minor or more major can push someone towards suicide.
Mental health conditions account for around 90% of suicides. Often there are more than one mental health conditions present.
Some of the biggest risks are: severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder (BPD), anorexia nervosa.
Severe Depression – characterised by low mood, tiredness, hopelessness, despair & lack of interest.
Bipolar Disorder – mood swings from very low to very high mood
Schizophrenia – long term condition that involves hallucinations, delusions and behavioural changes.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – Impulsive behaviour, disturbed thinking patterns, unstable emotions and short, intense relationships.
Anorexia Nervosa – people feel fat and therefore try to keep their weight very low.
Money, prison, sexuality, homelessness and exposure can also lead to suicide.
Also, medication such as antidepressants can create suicidal thoughts when they are first taken. Talk to your GP if this is the case as medication can be changed and help put in place.
- Threaten to kill themselves or others
- Talking or writing about death
- Looking for routes to kill themselves such as stockpiling pills.
- Talking about feeling hopeless
- Gaining or losing weight through changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Lose pride in appearance
- Making a will
- Becoming withdrawn
Things You Can Do
Ask Questions – open questions are best to encourage dialogue
Talk to a professional – long term support is usually essential and professionals can provide this
Talk to their mental health care team – If they, or you, have been diagnosed with a mental health condition – talk to the care team who can talk and create plans with you
Can you prevent suicidal thoughts?
It’s really hard to say, although the usual advice applies. Exercise and diet, reducing alcohol consumption and drug use, avoiding isolation and staying positive can all lift your mood and even reduce these thoughts.
If you ever experience these thoughts, talk to someone. Anyone. A doctor, a friend, a family member, a mental health professional, or on a helpline of some sort. There are plenty of people who are there to listen to you and want to help you, so please talk to them.