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Have you lost someone to suicide?

Survivor Day

According to 2015 statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 44,000 Americans dying of suicide each year. The statistics are alarming. In North Carolina alone, a person dies by suicide every six hours, and more than twice as many people die by suicide than by homicide in our state.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is this Saturday, November 18, 2017. Also called Survivor Day, it is a special day during which those who have lost someone to suicide can share their stories, support one another, and continue down the path of healing. In North Carolina, there are Survivor Day events all over the state for individuals to gather and harness the power of group support.

How can I tell if someone is thinking about committing suicide?

Following are some signs that an individual is considering suicide. If you aren't sure, do not be afraid to ask the person, "Are you thinking about killing yourself?" Asking will not encourage them to act on it; on the contrary, it may open the door for the person to get help.

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun

  • Talking about great guilt or shame

  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions

  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Using alcohol or drugs more often

  • Acting anxious or agitated

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast

  • Talking or thinking about death often

  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

  • Giving away important possessions

  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

You cannot "love" suicidal thoughts out of someone; they need professional help. A good place to start if you or someone you know is considering suicide is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 911 or take the person to a local emergency room.

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