While there’s no single cause, suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed a child or an adult's ability to cope. Generally, untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues, particularly depression, greatly influence suicide.
But there are other aspects to consider and many people can find them challenging. Specifically, risk factors are often confused with warning signs of suicide. But the two are very different.
Warning signs indicate an immediate risk of suicide, whereas risk factors suggest someone is at heightened risk for suicide, but not necessarily in crisis.
Another way to understand these is simply this:
1) Risk factors increase the probability a suicidal crisis will occur.
2) Warning signs indicate a suicidal crisis has already begun.
How to know the difference:
Now, familiarize yourself for signals that warn suicide may be imminent. The American Foundation of Suicide suggests these three areas: TALK, BEHAVIOR, MOOD.
How to get help
If you or a loved one experiences any risk factors, reach out to a mental health professional for help. National and Global hotlines are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you find support or care.
1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-5322
If warning signs are present, it's vital to get immediate care. Calling 911 or going to the nearest hospital emergency room can be life-saving.
Worldwide, more people die from suicide than all the deaths caused by accidents, natural disasters, wars and homicides around the world, combined. Eight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intentions.
With knowledge and prevention, we can help those struggling with suicidal thinking find treatment, hope, and healing.