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AWARE Ink Newsletter

  • AWARE

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

It's available 24/7. Call or Text: 988.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Line is one way someone who is considering hurting themselves or someone who is concerned about a loved one can get immediate help. People who are in crisis will receive free confidential emotional support, whether in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


Read below to learn more about how you can become aware of myths, warning signs and risk factors of suicide.

Common Myths of Suicide

Bringing attention to this important topic is a way to help everyone understand the important issues regarding suicide. While talk about suicide can be scary, it’s important to dispel the stigma. An article by Jessica A. Jaramillo from the University of Colorado Denver offers these facts regarding misconceptions of myths regarding suicide:

Myth: “Talking about suicidal thoughts will make it worse and encourage people to attempt it.”

It’s important to have open and honest conversations about suicide rather than ignoring the topic to encourage people to have hope and get help.

Myth: “People are usually not serious, or they’re just being dramatic.”

Take any talk about suicide seriously. Often people who have attempted suicide have somehow suggested their desire beforehand.

Myth: "Only individuals with a mental health diagnosis are at risk of suicide.”

While a mental health diagnosis may increase the likelihood of suicide, many others who have attempted or died by suicide do not have a specific mental health diagnosis.

Myth: “People who attempt suicide are selfish.”

Perceiving that one is a burden to their loved ones may be a significant risk factor. This drives the misconception that people are “better off without them.”

Myth: “Suicidal thoughts always lead to suicide attempts.”

Having a thought does not automatically translate into action. Rather, it may be a signal of emotional pain. Thoughts of suicide can be treated and improve overtime.

Myth: "Individuals who are suicidal will always exhibit warning signs."

Sometimes people may not display observable signs; however, it’s important for everyone to speak up about suicide and know the risk factors and warning signs to prevent and save lives.

According to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the following are possible risk factors and warning signs of suicide:

Risk Factors

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline suggests that risk factors point to the likeliness of a person considering, attempting or dying by suicide. These include

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders

  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders

  • Hopelessness

  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

  • History of trauma or abuse

  • Major physical illnesses

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)

  • Family history of suicide

  • Job or financial loss

  • Loss of relationship(s)

  • Easy access to lethal means

  • Local clusters of suicide

  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation

  • Stigma associated with asking for help

  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment

  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma

  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Warning Signs Knowing the warning signs may help you determine if a loved one needs help. These warning signs provided by the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline are significant, especially if a person you are worried about is exhibiting new or increased behavior that is related to a painful event, loss or change. These include

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like 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

  • Extreme mood swings

Support Your Loved One

To offer support to a loved one, Jaramillo suggests that you approach your loved one with ease and openness. Express empathy, don’t keep suicidal thoughts a secret, assist in finding mental health support, stay connected, follow up, be direct when addressing the topic and listen and validate.

In addition, always remember that the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available for immediate help. You call or text 988 at any time to receive support.

References

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. (September 2023). https://988lifeline.org/

Jaramillo, J. A. (Septermber 2023). University of Colorado Denver. Lifelines: Let’s Talk About Suicide. https://www.ucdenver.edu/student/stories/library/healthy-happy-life/lifelines-let-s-talk-about-suicide

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