FAMILY HEALTH CARE +

Your complete online medical source

Navigate by theme:

Web familyhealthhandbook.com

Return to index

Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness

Suicide

Prevention - Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

If you are very depressed or feel overwhelmed, you may sometimes think of taking your own life. Occasional thoughts of suicide are not a problem. However, if thoughts of suicide continue, or if you have made suicide plans, it becomes a very serious matter.

People who are considering suicide are often undecided about choosing life or death. With compassionate help, they may choose to live.

Grief

Grief is a natural healing process that allows you to adjust to a significant change or loss. Grief may be expressed physically or emotionally and may have some of the same symptoms as depression (See Depression). The following tips may help you move through the grieving process.

  • Take as much time as you need to grieve. Don't fight the emotions you feel.

  • Discuss your feelings with friends who will listen to and support you while encouraging you to reconnect with the world. Joining a support group or talking to a clergyperson or a counsellor also may help.

  • Write your thoughts down in a journal or paint or draw your grief. Or write letters to the person you lost.

  • Try to cut back on some of your usual responsibilities and activities until your grieving period is past. Postpone any major decisions.

  • As you begin to move beyond your grief, renew old interests and pursue new ones. Do things that give you a sense of control and hope.

    Call your doctor if grieving continues without improvement for more than 4 weeks

Prevention

Top of Page


When there are significant life crises, when you are depressed, or when someone you know is depressed, be alert to the warning signs for suicide:

  • Verbal warning. Most people who commit suicide mention their intentions to someone.

  • Preoccupation with death. A suicidal person may talk, read, draw, or write about death.

  • Previous suicide attempt. Failed attempts are often followed by a completed attempt.

  • Giving away prized possessions.

  • Depression and social isolation.

If you are troubled by suicidal thoughts, you should avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. Alcohol and drugs can impair your judgment, which may make you more likely to do things you would not do when sober.

Home Treatment

Top of Page


  • Use your common sense and a direct approach to determine if the suicide risk is high. Ask yourself or the person who you feel is at risk:

    • Do you feel there is no other way?

    • Do you have a suicide plan?

    • How and when do you plan to do it?

  • Ask someone you trust to stay with you or the suicidal person until the crisis has passed.

  • Encourage the person to seek professional help.

  • Don't argue with or challenge the person who is thinking of suicide.

  • Don't ignore warning signs, thinking that you or another person will "snap out of it."

  • Talk about the situation as openly as possible. Show understanding and compassion.

When to Call a Health Professional

Top of Page


Call 911 or other emergency services for urgent, life-threatening situations.

Call your doctor or your local Suicide Prevention hotline (look in the Yellow Pages):

  • If you are considering suicide.

  • If you suspect that someone has made suicide plans.

Top of Page