Suicidal behavior is a preoccupation or act that is focused on causing one's own death voluntarily. This includes suicidal ideations or actions taken by one who is considering or preparing to cause his or her own death. Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts of suicide or wanting to take one's own life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the U.S. in 2016, claiming the lives of nearly 45,000 people. Many of these lives can be saved if symptoms are discovered and addressed early enough. While proper medical treatment is necessary to help those at risk, it is just one of the many steps of suicide prevention. Knowledge and recognition of suicidal tendencies are key elements in prevention and are things that everyone can and should take part in.
If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, call our 24-hour crisis hotline at (610) 447-7600 to speak with professional clinicians at the Crisis Center for immediate, confidential support.
Crozer-Keystone Health System encourages members of our community to recognize the warning signs of suicide and help make a difference.
Because there are no typical suicide victims, it is essential to know which signs to look for. Some warning signs of suicide are:
- Talking about committing suicide
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Withdrawing from friends and/or social activities
- Loss of interest in hobbies, works, school, etc.
- Preparing for death by making out a will and final arrangements
- Giving away prized possessions
- Previous suicide attempts
- Loss of interest in personal appearance
- Preoccupation with death and dying
How To Help
Along with recognizing the symptoms, it is also important to know how to help a person who exhibits them. If you have concerns about a person who displays signs of suicide, you should:
- Encourage them to discuss their feelings
- Ask if they are thinking about making a suicide attempt
- Help them to find appropriate counseling assistance
- Offer care and support
Myths About Suicide
There are several inaccurate beliefs and stigmas associated with suicide and those who are at risk. It is important to dispel these false ideas and create awareness of the proper ways to help a suicidal person.
MYTH: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
FACT: Talking about suicide provides the opportunity for communication. Fears that are shared are more likely to diminish. Talking about feelings is the first step in encouraging a suicidal person to live. Discussions can start with a simply inquiry about whether or not the person is thinking of ending their life. However, talking about suicide should be carefully managed.
MYTH: The only effective intervention for suicide comes from professional psychiatrists with extensive experience in this area.
FACT: All people who interact with a suicidal person can help by offering emotional support and encouragement. Psychotherapeutic interventions rely heavily on the network of support family and friends provide.
MYTH: Some people are always suicidal.
FACT: Nobody is suicidal at all times. The risk of suicide for any individual varies across time, as circumstances in their lives may change. This is why it is important for regular assessments of the level of risk in individuals who are 'at-risk'.
The Crozer-Keystone Crisis Center provides 24-hour professional support for people experiencing behavioral disturbances, including suicidal ideations, homicidal ideations, psychosis, depression or anxiety.
Call (610) 447-7600 for immediate, confidential support.
Crozer-Keystone Health System employs Delaware County’s largest staff of board-certified and board-eligible psychiatrists. We offer a comprehensive range of services in the areas of mental health and substance abuse, including emergency care, outpatient counseling and inpatient psychiatric treatment.