Suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem. Suicide takes life without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race, or gender. Sadly, the legacy of suicide comes long after the death, impacting bereaved loved ones and communities. Suicide is preventable but it requires concerted and collaborative efforts from all sectors of society. As part of this effort, the Office of Student Services at Coastal Bend College shares the following information about what to do if you or someone you know is considering suicide. After all, suicide prevention starts with everyday heroes like you.
Suicide Warning Signs:
There is no typical suicidal person. No age group, ethnicity, or background is immune. Fortunately, many troubled individuals display behaviors deliberately or inadvertently signal their suicidal intent. Recognizing the warning signs and learning what to do next may help save a life. The following behavioral patterns may indicate possible risk for suicide and should be watched closely. If they appear numerous or severe, seek professional help at once. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or the Crisis Text Line by texting TN to 741 741.
In the event that you or someone you know is currently in danger, dial 9-1-1 immediately.
- Talking about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities
- Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss
- Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
- Giving away prized possessions
- Previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility
- Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior
- Loss of interest in personal appearance
- Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
- General hopelessness
- Recent experience of humiliation or failure
- Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers Feelings, Thoughts, and Behaviors
Nearly everyone at some point in time in his or her life thinks about suicide. Most everyone decides to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control frequently they:
- Can’t stop the pain
- Can’t think clearly
- Can’t make decisions
- Can’t see any way out
- Can’t sleep, eat, or work
- Can’t get out of the depression
- Can’t make the sadness go away
- Can’t see the possibility of change
- Can’t see themselves worthwhile
- Can’t get someone’s attention
- Can’t seem to get control
What Do You Do?
- Be aware. Learn the warning signs listed above.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
- Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow for expressions of feelings and accept those feelings.
- Be nonjudgmental. Avoid debating whether suicide is right or wrong, whether someone’s feelings are good or bad, or on the value of life.
- Avoid taunting the person or daring him/her to “do it.”
- Avoid giving advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
- Avoid asking “why.” This only encourages defensiveness.
- Offer empathy, not sympathy.
- Avoid acting shocked. This creates distance.
- Don’t keep someone else’s suicidal thoughts (or your own) a secret. Get help. Silence can be deadly.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available. Avoid offering easy reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.
- Take action. Remove anything that the person could use to hurt themselves.
- Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Where to Get Help:
It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. There is help and hope available through the following resources:
- Coastal Bend College Mental Health Support
- Crisis Text Line: Text 74174,1 free 24/7
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or Text 838255
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Trevor Lifeline for LGBT Youth 24/7: 1-866-488-7386 or Text START to 678678
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888
- ASK & Prevent Suicide- Easy steps to preventing suicide, available on iTunes and Google Play
- Breathe2Relax- Stress management tools and exercises, available on iTunes and Google Play
- Self-help Anxiety Management- Helps people manage anxiety, available on iTunes and Google Play
- Suicide Safer Home- Practical tips for parents and caregivers, available on iTunes and Google Play
- Texas Veterans- Access local, state, and national resources, available on iTunes and Google Play