Knowing when a loved one has the potential for suicidal thoughts can be the difference between life and death. If you’re concerned about the safety of a loved one and suspect someone you care about may be contemplating suicide, there are a few key warning signs to watch for.
1. Being Socially Ostracized
Human beings are social creatures, meaning we need to feel accepted by others.
If your loved one is a member of a group not considered “mainstream,” they may be at risk for suicide, particularly if they do not receive enough support from loved ones. It is often best to seek out support groups—for example, those offered by LGBT Centers may be beneficial for someone in the LGBT community. These groups of similar individuals are usually led by a trained professional and provide an outlet for members of the groups to express their feelings without fearing judgment.
2. Mental Illnesses
Any number of mental illnesses can contribute to suicidal thoughts. Many of them impact brain function in such a way that prevents healthy self-image or a healthy outlook on life. In these cases, you should seek the help of a professional.
When it comes to chemical imbalances, professional assistance will be needed to outline coping strategies and necessary medications. Of course, love and support from friends and family are still important to the individual though these things cannot replace the expertise of a counselor.
3. Sudden Emotional Upheaval
When a person experiences a sudden downturn in their life, it is natural to have an exaggerated reaction. The death of a close loved one or loss of a job can create just enough hopelessness and turmoil to cause a severely negative response.
In these cases, it is important to watch your loved one closely for any symptoms of suicidal thoughts. If they seem to be struggling, refer them to a counselor and continue your love and support.
4. Physical Illnesses
A diagnosis of a physical illness can also put a damper on one’s outlook. If the illness is serious, chronic, or terminal, they are far more likely to take a mental turn for the worse. A diagnosis of cancer, for example, can make a person feel that they are dying already and therefore may as well do it on their own terms.
The idea of the potential struggle involved in treating and recovering from a serious illness is sometimes enough to prompt suicidal thoughts. In the event of a diagnosis, seek both counseling and a support group. Interacting with people in the same situation can be extraordinarily beneficial, particularly if they are able to see success stories.
5. Family History
A history of suicide can make a person more at risk for suicide. Even beyond genetics, a person who has experienced the suicide of a family member is, in turn, also more likely to attempt suicide themselves.
When there is a family history, be sure to keep a careful eye out for the symptoms of suicide and do not take them lightly if you see them. Seek external help from both professionals and other loved ones. A genetic factor can sometimes be the most difficult to counteract.
It can be difficult to acknowledge that your loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts. However, possessing the tools to recognize the warning signs can make the difference in your loved one’s road to recovery.
Remember that no one expects you to fill the role of a professional counselor. Seek external help from professional therapists, counselors, or mental health professionals, and do not attempt to take such a serious situation on alone. Your loved one still has the full potential to recover if given the proper treatment and support.
Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life. Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.
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