3 signs someone is suicidal, not just depressed

Did you know that in 2020 Suicide ranked ninth as the leading cause of death for all ages in the United States? Every 11 minutes, one person commits suicide. Not only that, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of individuals who have suicidal thoughts is even higher.  An estimated 12.2 million adult Americans had truly considered suicide in 2020, among them, 3.2 million made a suicide plan, and 1.2 million killed themselves.

Suicide is a serious problem that can be prevented by recognition, awareness, and understanding. Suicidal thoughts stem from a collection of reasons, some of them are mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorders, and PTSD. In this article, I will point out 3 signs someone is not just depressed, but suicidal instead.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please reach out to a qualified healthcare provider or mental health professional if you are struggling.

Number 1, withdrawal.

Do you notice your friends hanging out less and less often with you? Are they always turning down invites? They may be going through some tough times, or it may be something more serious like they have depression and are thinking of suicide.

A person with suicidal thoughts will not only avoid their friends but will also disappear from social media as well. Nowadays with the help of social media, we can be up to date with our friends’ activities without directly meeting them. If you notice someone who used to post a lot about their day suddenly stop, it’s a reason to investigate.

Not only that but withdrawal is not limited to social life, it also includes personal life. When a person has depression, they will lose interest in things that usually entertain them. Activities like playing volleyball or painting do not spark joy anymore. This is all the more true when suicidal thoughts start to bubble up in their head.

Number 2, showing self-harming behavior.

A study performed by the University of Oxford established that there is a strong relationship between psychiatric illnesses and suicide. The research concluded a rate ratio of (> 5) for self-harm in patients with different types of psychiatric illnesses, among which depression and bipolar disorder had the highest risk of them all.

When someone you know starts displaying self-harming behaviors like cutting, pulling out hair, or burning, they are portraying the message that they do not care anymore. Self-harming actions are not limited to physical injuries as well but also actions. When they partake in reckless activities, like jumping from a bridge for a test of courage or driving unsafely, they do that because their life does not matter anymore, and they have made the decision to end it anyways.

Number 3, feeling hopeless.

An estimate of 2% of people receiving outpatient treatment for depression will attempt suicide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

What starts as a lack of energy and motivation because of depression can progress to something much more sinister. Depressed people usually do not get things done because of their illness. They tend to procrastinate and push back the simplest of tasks. Therefore, there is no feeling of accomplishment to help keep them going forward. Having your efforts rewarded is one of the major causes why we continue to do what we do; without it, you will feel like there is no benefit of working in the first place. Thoughts about a bleak future will start to bloom in this case, which will create a smooth path for suicidal thoughts to take root in the mind.

Moreover, depressed individuals fight feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and uselessness. These thoughts will decrease their self-esteem which will further increase the negative thoughts and emotions. They will be surrounded by a dark bubble of emotions; they will be in a long tunnel that they think has no light at the end. They have no hope for a better future, thinking it is pointless and thus will choose to end their life.

In conclusion, depression and suicide are strongly linked together. If you notice signs of withdrawal, showing self-harming behaviors, and feeling hopeless, then it is more likely that they are not just depressed but thinking of suicide as well. If you hear your friend saying, ‘I wish I was dead.’ do not laugh it off as a joke. It could be a statement coming deep from their heart.

Together we can decrease the incidence of suicide by being more aware of the risk factors and signs and by referral to the appropriate health care professional.

Want to know how procrastination can be caused by depression? Check out this article: https://psych2go.net/5-signs-you-procrastinate-because-of-depression-not-laziness/

Written by Ruqaya Shahin.

References:

Singhal, A., Ross, J., Seminog, O., Hawton, K., & Goldacre, M. J. (2014). Risk of self-harm and suicide in people with specific psychiatric and physical disorders: comparisons between disorders using English national record linkage. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 107(5), 194–204. https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076814522033

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 25). Facts about suicide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/facts/index.html

Schimelpfening, N. (2022, April 26). Risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/suicide-warning-signs-and-risk-factors-1067525

Recognizing suicide behavior: Risk factors, warning signs, what to do. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, June 18). Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11352-recognizing-suicidal-behavior

Bhandari, S. (2022, March 17). How to recognize symptoms of suicidal behavior. WebMD. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior

CDC. CDC WONDER: Underlying cause of death, 1999–2019. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2020. https://wonder.cdc.gov/Deaths-by-Underlying-Cause.html

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/

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