Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens in Mississippi.
Talking through feelings with your friends and trusted adults can help you realize the need for help. By showing concern and support, you can encourage your friend to talk to their parents or another trusted adult about getting help.
Fact or Fiction
Fiction: You can’t stop people who want to kill themselves.
Fact: Most suicidal people do not really want to die. They just want their pain to stop. You or your friend may be struggling with reasons to live and reasons to die. Talking about it means your friend can help you identify reasons for living.
Fiction: Talking to my friend about suicide will only make it worse.
Fact: Talking through feelings with your friends and trusted adults can help you realize the need for help. By showing concern and support, you can encourage your friend to talk to their parents or another trusted adult about getting help. Many times, people who are having thoughts of suicide are actually relieved that someone has recognized their warning signs and is concerned enough to ask if they are thinking about hurting themselves. Imagine what it would be like if no one recognized your warning signs – you would feel more alone and isolated. It’s important to talk to your friend if you see warning signs.
Fiction: Telling someone that my friend is talking about suicide is betraying their trust.
Fact: Depression and thoughts of suicide interferes with a person’s ability or wish to get help. It is an act of true friendship to share your concerns with a trusted adult.
How Do I Know
There are almost always warning signs that someone is thinking about suicide.
4 out of 5 people give warning signs.
Many times we don’t understand the warning signs and we don’t know who to turn to if we do see warning signs. If you or your friend shows signs of suicide don’t ignore it. Seek help!
- Changes from typical behaviors such as having problems at school or not wanting to go out with friends
- Personality & mood changes
- Having problems concentrating
- Losing interest in activities you enjoy
- Feeling rotten inside
- Changes in eating & sleeping
- Talking, writing or thinking about suicide
- Feeling hopeless, helpless and/or worthless
- Using or increasing use of drugs or alcohol
Risk Factors for Suicide
What is a risk factor?
A risk factor is something that can increase chances something will happen. Just because you or your friend may have some of the risk factors listed below, doesn’t mean that anything will happen. These risk factors are just something to watch out for.
Risk Factors for suicide include:
- Psychiatric disorders – Depression is most common
- Alcohol and/or drug abuse
- History of trauma such as physical or emotional abuse
- Trauma from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, oil spills, etc.
- Major physical illness
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Impulsive tendencies
- Job or financial loss
- Social loss
- Easy access to lethal means such as drugs, guns, etc.
- Lack of support from family and friends
- Barriers to accessing healthcare, particularly mental health care
- Exposure to others who have attempted suicide
What should you do if you or your friend is thinking about suicide?
Remember to ACT!
A – Acknowledge – Don’t ignore the problem and the situation your friend is experiencing. Don’t run from your friend. Remember how important it is to support and be there for your friend.
C – Care – Let your friend know that you care about them and their safety and want to help.
T – Tell – This can be the hardest step. You may feel like you are betraying your friend. Your friend may have asked you or even begged you not to tell anyone. It’s important to realize you can’t help your friend on your own. It’s a problem that’s bigger than you. You must tell a trusted adult. Don’t keep it a secret even if you are asked to. Protect your friend!
What to Do
- Take it seriously
- Tell them you care and want to help
What Not to Do
- Keep it a secret
- Think it will go away
- Think nothing can be done
- Think you can fix it alone
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP OR INFORMATION
- Go to the nearest emergency room
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Call 911
- Visit www.dmh.ms.gov or call 1-877-210-8513
- Visit www.whatadifference.org
- Visit Talk About It
- Talk to a trusted adult