One of the leading causes of US deaths is suicide, and it is the second leading cause in people aged 10 to 34. It has a heavy impact on families and communities. Over 47,000 people die each year by suicide and there are more than 1.2 million attempts, and that is just the ones known about. That means a death every 11 minutes. But it is preventable with things like suicide prevention training and knowing what the warning signs are.

What are the risk factors for suicide?

Risk factors are things that make it more likely an individual will think about and potentially try to commit suicide. There are different factors that can increase the risk including personal ones, community factors, relationships and societal concerns. That is why youth suicide prevention is more successful when it looks at all of the factors not just some. Examples include;

  • A history of bullying
  • Having made previous attempts
  • Having a mood disorder like bipolar or depression
  • Have a history of abuse and trauma
  • Suicide being in the family
  • A significant loss, for example, a breakup, a death, financial difficulty, job loss, failing school
  • Abusing alcohol and/or drugs
  • Having access to easy methods such as firearms, poisons, or prescription medications
  • Being isolated socially
  • Having chronic pain or illness

What are some of the warning signs?

Warning signs are things that suggest there is an immediate risk of a suicide attempt, these are things you can learn too in suicide prevention training. It includes;

  • Increasing how much they are drinking or doing drugs
  • Taking risks and reckless behavior without any thought
  • Mood swings that are very dramatic
  • Writing or talking about dying or suicide
  • Isolating themselves and not interacting with friends or family
  • Not doing things that they used to love
  • Comments about feeling worthless or hopeless
  • Having no reason to live or no purpose
  • Saying they feel trapped and like that are a burden

The protective factors

Protective factors are things that make people less likely to consider suicide as an option, such as;

  • Having good skills in conflict resolution and problem solving
  • Having access to good mental health care
  • Staying in contact with health care providers with follow up calls and such
  • Being connected to family, friends and their community
  • Having a strong cultural identity

Youth suicide prevention is going to be more effective with a more comprehensive approach to mental health and suicide prevention. There are steps communities, schools and parents can take as well as states to help including things like teaching coping skills, and problem-solving skills and giving more assistance with a better coordinated physical and mental health care system.

Things you can do to help

  1. Ask someone if they are thinking about committing suicide, it will not put the idea into their head, it will show them you are concerned, you notice them and you want to help.
  2. Be there when they need you in person if possible or on the phone.
  3. Reduce the things they have access to that they might use to do it.
  4. Make sure they have people they can connect with to offer them support.
  5. Follow up on your conversations and visits and let them know you are present.
Author's Bio: 

This Article Penned by Lora Davis.