How To Spot Suicidal Behavior

Signs of suicidal behavior may not be obvious. However, subtle signs are normally present in a person's behavior. While many signs of suicide are the same for all individuals, there are a few prominent signs that differ among teens and older adults. Teens and older adults have the highest rates of suicide. More than 70 percent of people thinking of committing suicide show signs of suicidal behavior. However, most people don't communicate their suicidal intentions to others. Thus, it is very important to pay attention to the actions of people that you believe may be exhibiting suicidal behavior.

The best way to prevent suicide is to know the signs of suicidal behavior and other mental disorders, like depression. Suicide is not a mental illness. However, other mental disorders can influence suicidal behavior. If you suspect that someone is suicidal, don't ignore it. It has been proven that those with positive support systems are less likely to act on suicidal impulses. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Showing that you care may save a life.

In this article, we have specified key differences in signs of suicidal behavior for three specific groups: teens, older adults, and criticals. However, there are some general signs that are common for all groups. General signs of suicidal behavior include long-lasting sadness, increased substance abuse, sleeplessness, isolation, reckless behavior, making preparations, anxiety, hopelessness, threats of suicide, and changes in personality or appearance. In addition, someone suffering from major depression is more likely to exhibit signs of suicidal behavior, as it is the leading cause of suicide.

Signs of Suicidal Behavior in Teens

In teens, the most prominent signs of suicidal behavior are losing interest in once enjoyable activities, mood changes, and giving away important possessions. Secondary behaviors include significant changes in personality, neglect of personal hygiene, substance abuse and physical pain. Situational factors can also influence suicidal behavior in teens. It is important to pay attention to how the teen may be reacting to recent traumatic life events, such as a romantic break-up, alienation from a social group, or physical and sexual abuse. These teens may be more prone to attempt suicide.

Signs of Suicidal Behavior in Older Adults

In older adults, the most prominent signs include neglecting personal appearance (they may not change their clothes for a long period of time), sleeping more or less, alienating people, giving away possessions, and rushing to complete a will. Secondary behaviors included feelings of hopelessness, not following doctor's orders, and increasing substance abuse. Suicidal behavior in older adults (elderly) can also be influenced by traumatic life events such as the death of a spouse, financial instability, and serious illness. These and other events can be very overwhelming to older adults.

Signs of Critical Suicidal Behavior

These signs are much more escalated for all groups. Signs of critical suicide behavior includes verbalizing or threatening to commit suicide. The person can appear to be very agitated, and may threaten suicide while intoxicated. They may be actively seeking a way to harm themselves, and may possess or seek to obtain a weapon. In this critical cases, you want to protect yourself. Your personal safety comes first. It is not recommended to leave the person alone, and it may be necessary to call 911.

Many persons who are feeling suicidal may not directly communicate that they intend to commit suicide because they don't want to seem weak or let others know about their problems. Many don't see a future and don't believe that things will get better. However, it's common for people who are suicidal to indirectly convey their feelings of hopelessness and despair. Their pain may be so great that they are unable to understand that the pain is only temporary. Sometimes, listening and paying attention to those who are struggling may be just enough to let them know that whatever they are going through will most certainly pass.

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