Suicide is a growing public health crisis with limited treatment options.1 A 2020 survey by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revealed more than one in ten respondents said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days. For those ages 18 to 24, the number was a shocking 1 in 4.2
Suicide and mental health awareness are discussed now more than ever, but the stigma is still deeply rooted within our society. Ending that stigma will take time but the first step is to talk openly about it. Whether you are suicidal or wondering if someone you love is suicidal, speak up, reach out, just ask! Contrary to popular belief, asking if someone is thinking of harming themselves will not make them more likely to go through with it. In fact, asking helps. Individuals who are struggling are doing so in silence. They may be experiencing confusion, fear, shame, hopelessness, doubt, and don’t know where or who to turn to. By asking, you are throwing the person a lifeline. A ray of hope. Even if they deny they are feeling suicidal, they feel noticed, cared for, perhaps not so alone.
What Are The Warning Signs
To determine if you or someone you love is suicidal, look for the following warning signs:
- Too much or too little sleep
- Becoming more isolated and withdrawn from friends, family and community
- Talk of wanting to kill oneself
- Increase in drug and alcohol use
- Behaving agressively, recklessly, showing anxiousness or agitation
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing feelings of worthlessness or no reason to live
- Searching for ways to kill oneself
- Stating they are a burden to others and it would be better if they were gone
Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If you or a loved one starts to take any of these steps, seek immediate help from a health care provider or call 911:
- Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
- Giving away possessions
- Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
How to Support Someone in Crisis
If someone states they are suicidal, action is necessary. First, stay with the person or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring individual until you can get further help. Next, remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and follow their instructions. If you feel danger of self-harm is imminent, call 911.
Being aware, asking questions, and coming alongside someone who is silently struggling is the most important thing you can do in help saving their life.
Here are a few ways to approach a suicide-crisis:
- Talk openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
- Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills
- Calmly ask simple and direct questions, like “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?”
- If there are multiple people around, have one person speak at a time
- Express support and concern
- Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
- Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
- If you’re nervous, try not to fidget or pace
- Be patient
For you or your loved ones who are experiencing suicidal thoughts, consider ketamine as an option. Ketamine provides rapid relief from suicidal thoughts and helps to gain insight into alternative ways of dealing with depression. Here at Ketamine Wellness Centers, our multidisciplinary approach can help support you during those difficult times. Ketamine’s anti-suicidal effect appears to come from its unique ability to work in several different ways at the same time. Research continues to uncover the exact mechanism of ketamine. In the process, this research is helping us make significant new strides towards understanding more about depression and suicidality itself.
There is hope, there is help.
Talk with us to learn more about ketamine and suicidality.
Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness