How would I know if someone I care about was contemplating suicide?

Suicide is very much in the news these days. A forensic expert who conducted an autopsy on Trina Etrong, wife of Ted Failon said that the contact wound on her temple indicates suicide. (Edit on April 22– A second autopsy points to suicide)

I ‘d like to point out that the Compassionate Friends refer to the death as ““died by suicide” or ““died of suicide” to replace the commonly used ““committed suicide” or ““completed suicide.” The phrases “Died of suicide” or “died by suicide” are accurate, emotionally- neutral ways to explain the death.

Suicide, no doubt, is the most misunderstood of all deaths and leaves behind a residue of questions, guilt, anger, second-guessing, and anxiety which, at least initially, is almost impossible to digest. Even though we know better, we’re still haunted by the feeling that suicide is the ultimate act of despair, a deed that somehow puts one outside the family of humanity, the mercy of God, and (in the past) the church’s burial grounds.

Let’s not be judgmental on people who died by suicide.

When someone close to us commits suicide we feel both pain and shame. That’s why suicides are often not reported publicly. An obituary is more likely to say that this person “died suddenly”, without specifying the cause of death.

What needs to be said about suicide? A number of things need to be re-iterated over and over again:

First, that suicide, at least in most cases, is a sickness, a disease, a terminal illness that takes a person out of life, as does any terminal illness, against his or her will. In essence, suicide is death through emotional cancer, emotional heart attack, emotional stroke.

That’s why it’s apt to say that someone is “a victim of suicide”. Suicide is a desperate, if misguided, attempt to end unendurable pain at any cost, akin to throwing oneself through a window and falling to one’s death because one’s clothing is on fire.

Suicide is an illness, not a sin.

I am sure one of your questions would be How would I know if someone I care about was contemplating suicide?

Often suicidal people will give warning signs, consciously or unconsciously, indicating that they need help and often in the hope that they will be rescued.These usually occur in clusters, so often several warning signs will be apparent. The presence of one or more of these warning signs is not intended as a guarantee that the person is suicidal: the only way to know for sure is to ask them. In other cases, a suicidal person may not want to be rescued,and may avoid giving warning signs.

Typical warning signs which are often exhibited by people who are feeling suicidal include:

    – Withdrawing from friends and family.
    – Depression, broadly speaking; not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness
    such as clinical depression, but indicated by signs such as:
    – Loss of interest in usual activities.
    – Showing signs of sadness, hopelessness, irritability.
    – Changes in appetite, weight, behavior, level of activity or
    sleep patterns.
    – Loss of energy.
    – Making negative comments about self.
    – Recurring suicidal thoughts or fantasies.
    – Sudden change from extreme depression to being `at peace’ (may
    indicate that they have decided to attempt suicide).
    – Talking, Writing or Hinting about suicide.
    – Previous attempts.
    – Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
    – Purposefully putting personal affairs in order:
    – Giving away possessions.
    – Sudden intense interest in personal wills or life insurance.
    – `Clearing the air’ over personal incidents from the past.

This list is not definitive: some people may show no signs yet still feel suicidal, others may show many signs yet be coping OK; the only way to know for sure is to ask. In conjunction with the risk factors listed above, this list is intended to help people identify others who may be in need of support.

If a person is highly perturbed, has formed a potentially lethal plan to kill themselves and has the means to carry it out immediately available, they would be considered likely to attempt suicide.

Read more at my Suicide Prevention page.

(Source : The Struggle to Understand Suicide)

Philippine Suicide Prevention Hotline

Office Address: 2/F, 48 McKinley Road, North Forbes Park, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Office Phones: +63 2 8931893 /8106233
Fax: +63 2 8931892
Website: www.in-touch.org
E-mail: [email protected]
Crisis Line: +63 2 8937603 /+63 2 8937606 (24/7)
Mobile Text messaging: type hello crisisline and send to 2333 (Globe) or 211 (Smart)

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1389 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.