Why do people consider and/or contemplate suicide? The reasons are complex and varied, but can be summarized as the need for relief from unbelievably painful mental, emotional or physical suffering. The person contemplating suicide just wants to remove him or her self from an incredibly painful situation. Suicide is not about wanting to die, but about a powerful need to end the pain. Suicidal people share feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and isolation, a desire for a solution to their problems, and deep uncertainties about living and dying.
|The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that 90% of people who die by suicide are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders. For example, people with Bipolar Disorder ar at an increased risk of suicide, even during manic episodes, because of a high level of impulsivity. 25% of all suicides are in individuals with alcohol use disorders. But lacking the research to separate out LGBT suicides from the general population we cannot say how many are suffering from a psychiatric disorder and how many are suffering from the "painful situation" produced by the ignorance and intolerance of a society that has not yet accepted us.
There are many aspects of life that can cause Emotional and Mental Stress:
| Death of a loved one
Divorce / separation
Injury/illness ( self / family )
Loss of job
|| Change in financial status
Change of job / work
Mortgage or loan
Foreclosure of mortgage/loan
Change in responsibilities
Minor violations of the law
Very often, people need to talk about these all too common life stressors, but there's no one they feel they can talk to. This is why it's important for us to recognize when someone is feeling this need and be able to direct them to support services.
There are three critical risk factors for suicide: Desire, Capability, and Intent.
Suicidal Desire exists when one or more of the following is present:
- Suicidal Ideation: wanting to hurt oneself and/or others
- Psychological Pain
- Perceived Burden on Others
- Feeling Trapped
Suicidal Capability exists when one or more of the following is present:
- A history of suicide attempts
- Exposure to someone else's death by suicide
- A history of or current violence to others
- The availability of the means for hurting oneself or others
- Being "high" or intoxicated
- Substance Abuse
- Acute symptoms of mental Illness
- A recent and dramatic mood change
- Being out of touch with reality
- Extreme agitation or rage
- An increase in anxiety
- Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Recent acts and/or threats of aggression
Suicidal Intent exists when one or more of the following is present:
- An attempt is in progress
- There is a PLAN in place of how to hurt self or other
- There are Preparatory behaviors
- Organizing personal affairs
- Materials are being gathered that are needed to hurt oneself/others
- Rehearsing the act
- Expressing the intent to die
In addition to these, there are special risk factors for youth
- Parental psychopathology (depressive disorders, mood disorders)
- Family History of Suicidal Behavior
- Life Stressors such as Interpersonal Losses (relationship breakup, argument with parents)
- Legal and Disciplinary problems
- Physical and Sexual Abuse
- Conduct Disorders
- Sexual/Gender Orientation
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Contagion or Imitation (exposure to media accounts of suicidal behavior; exposure to suicidal behavior in friends and acquaintances)
- Living alone/Runaways
- Aggressive-impulsive behaviors
Imminent Warning Signs
Very often, a suicidal person will make remarks that clearly indicate their intent:
- 'I've decided to kill myself.'
- 'I wish I were dead.'
- 'I'm going to end it all.'
Sometimes, the remarks are not so blunt or obvious, but indicate a sucidial ideation.
- 'I'm tired of life, I just can't go on.'
- 'My family would be better off without me.'
- 'Who cares if I'm dead anyway.'
- 'I just want out.'
- 'Pretty soon you won't have to worry about me.'
If you see any of the following, take action immediately; immediately seek professional help:
- Someone is threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself.
- Someone is looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
- Someone is talking or writing about death, dying or suicide (when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person)
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The information provided by Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. is for educational purposes only and is not intended to render medical advice or professional services. The information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease and is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your healthcare provider.
Rainbow Access Initiative is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
These materials were produced through a grant from the New York State Department of Health.
You may not use them without the written permission of Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc.
Permission may be obtained by contacting the Director.