No one is exempted from mental health. Anyone and everyone can be afflicted with mental health issues, that is why it is important to normalize conversations surrounding mental health. Talking about depression, anxiety, and suicide should be as normal as talking about the weather. These conversations will help make people comfortable and safe when talking about how they feel. However, right now they may not be as normal a conversation as the weather, thankfully there are warning signs that can help you start the conversation. If you can see these warning signs of suicide in your friend, sibling, or anyone, try to approach them in a gentle manner. Let them know that they can talk to you.
1. Talking about feeling like a burden to others
A lot of times, suicidal thoughts can be all-consuming. That is why suicidal individuals can feel like their presence in the life of others is a burden and that a sudden absence would make their lives better.
2. Getting ahold of lethal weapons or medications
If an individual suddenly gets ahold of these items keep in mind that it has a specific purpose. If you spot a lethal item, do not suddenly approach the owner of the item. Consult with your other peers on what to do. You can kindly confiscate the item, keep it in a safe hiding place and start a conversation with how the owner has been feeling lately.
3. Saying goodbye like it is the last time you will see them
Admittedly, you rarely ever know the last time you will see a person. Thus, if a person is acting like it is the last time you will see them, it may be because, in their minds, it is the last time you will see them.
4. Feeling like they have no reason to live anymore
Although it is normal to question your purpose in life, suicidal individuals feel certain that they have no more reason to live. If someone opens up to you about feeling as if they have no reason to live, remind them of all the reasons they have to live.
5. Making a plan or researching on methods to die
Unbeknownst to some, suicide does not happen out of the blue. Suicidal individuals oftentimes fantasize, imagine and visualize their death. Making a plan or researching ways to die is not very far from executing the plan. If you notice this warning sign, open a conversation about mental health in a non-threatening manner. You can encourage the person to talk to you or to a professional, just let them know that there is so much more to life for.
If you display these signs consistently or know someone who does, it is never a shame to ask or seek help from a professional. Despite all the stigma that surrounds mental health, never forget that they hold no truth. Mental health is as important as physical health and should be treated as such.