Robin Williams' Death Unveils Suicide Warning Signs, Misconceptions

By: Andrea Flores Email
By: Andrea Flores Email
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Warning Signs of Suicide from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Talking about wanting to die

Looking for a way to kill oneself

Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

Talking about being a burden to others

Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly

Sleeping too little or too much

Withdrawing or feeling isolated

Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

Displaying extreme mood swings

The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.

LINCOLN, Neb.-- Suicide is something many people may not like to talk about, but David Miers, Bryan Health Mental Services Manager, says that's exactly what people should do if they notice someone they love is having suicidal thoughts or signs of depression.

Miers says if someone is talking about suicide, writing about it, and has an increase in wreckless behavior or a sense of worthlessness, the first step you should take in helping them is simply asking them what's wrong.

Those are just some of the warning signs for suicidal behavior. Others include irregular behaviors, having trouble sleeping, and changes in eating habits.

Subsequently, if they go from symptoms of depression to a period of heightened happiness, those drastic mood changes can also be a sign for help.

"Suicide can impact anybody, suicide impacts all ages," said Miers. "It is the age group of 45 to 64 have the highest suicide rate, followed by the elderly."

One of the leading causes of suicide is depression, and if it lasts for up to two weeks or longer, Miers says that's when it's time to seek help.

"We see people in society, and we might see one side of them, but sometimes we can't see what's going inside of them, and that brings home the importance of asking individuals if they're thinking about suicide," Miers said.

Miers says a common misconception is that talking about suicide will do more harm than good.

"The most common myth in society is that if we talk about about suicide it actually makes it worse, and gives someone the idea, that's absolutely false. The best thing we can do is to talk about suicide," said Myers.

Having that sometimes difficult conversation can often lead to figuring why a person is having those feelings, and what could be the cause.

"Talking to individuals who have been suicidal overwhelmingly say that it would have been helpful if somebody would have asked how that person is feeling."

He goes on to say suicide is a complex issues, and often leaves family members and friends asking why it happened.

"After a suicide, you're looking for a single cause," said Miers. "There generally is not one single cause, there are multiple factors that are going on in that person's life."

At least 90 percent of those who commit suicide have suffered from mental illness, and most commonly, depression.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 where you'll be directed to resources that can help.

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