Help for Thoughts of Suicide and Self-Harm
Sad statistics surround the topic of suicide. Surprisingly, it’s the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, ranking near the top of the list, not far behind cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It’s difficult to imagine the depths of despair someone must be feeling to view the end of life as a solution. That is, until you’ve been there.
The reasons people consider ending their lives vary, but chief among them is depression. Those who struggle with severe depression experience overwhelming mental and emotional pain. When there’s no relief in sight, suicide becomes the more attractive option than continuing to suffer. But there are other reasons why someone might consider taking their own life. They include:
- Psychiatric disorders
- The wish to escape physical pain
- Untreated trauma
These reasons may be compounded by substance abuse, family dysfunction, or even genetics. But generally, there is more than a single reason why someone desires to stop living.
Signs Your Loved One May Be Suicidal
If you’re worried about someone you love. Look for signs they may be having suicidal thoughts. These include talking about suicide or dying as an attractive option to what they’re currently experiencing or exhibiting uncharacteristically reckless behavior. Someone who genuinely wants to die may become preoccupied with death or afterlife, in general. They may also experience pattern changes in how and when they sleep, eat, or interact with others. They may become withdrawn or may begin giving away cherished belongings, but through everything they do, there’s a pervasive feeling of hopelessness and despair.
If you know someone who fits the description, encouraging them to seek mental health treatment from an experienced professional such as a family therapist can quite literally save their life.
Finding Help for Suicidal Thoughts
Help for depression and thoughts of self-harm or suicide is surprisingly easy to find. Your family physician, school counselor, church pastor, or an emergency hotline number can all direct you to sources nearby who can get you into treatment for depression and related mental health issues.
The most important step you can take is to talk about what you’re experiencing. Tell a friend. Tell a friend’s parent. Talk to a teacher or a coworker. And if you’re worried about someone you love, talk directly to them. From the moment you reach out for help, your condition will become more manageable.
You don’t have to go through trauma, depression, or pain alone. It’s the job of experienced professionals such as marriage and family therapists to help. And if you reach out, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you begin to feel better. The world will brighten, and each new day will begin to feel more like a gift than an unbearable weight.
Phillips Graduate Institute Cares
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. There’s no better time to ask for help than right now. At Phillips Graduate Institute, we care about the communities we serve. That’s why our CalFam Counseling Center stands ready to assist students, families, and members of the community by providing effective mental health services to clients in crisis, and our MFT Program helps equip aspiring counselors with the education and experience to assist those in need. Contact us today for more information.