"Suicide. The word suicide catches people’s attention. The truth is that suicide catches everyone’s attention. It’s the actions that lead up to suicide that often go unnoticed." - Allison kidd
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. When we hear statistics like this, many questions surface such as:
Some might even think, those “signs” aren’t really a cry for help, they’re just to get attention.
People in crisis don’t think, “I’m going to act different to get people’s attention”. Often times, people struggling to make it through the day are more focused on hiding their symptoms than publicly displaying them.
Some people, however, do want you to notice those behavioral changes as a cry for help. They may not be able to verbalize their needs so they suffer on the inside, struggling to acknowledge and admit to others that they need help. This is their way of gaining that attention that they so desperately need in order to take action and get help.
Know the warning signs:
Warning signs are clues that people exhibit that caution us something isn’t right, and we should investigate further. Individuals might already display some of these behaviors on a regular basis with no concern noted. The real concern lies when behaviors are new, out of the ordinary for a person's character, or have increased in frequency or severity.
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide created the acronym F.A.C.T.S. to detect the warning signs for suicide. This is a helpful reminder of what to look for in your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or yourself.
Feelings: different from the past
Actions: different from the way they normally act
Changes: in personality, behaviors, sleeping patterns, eating habits
Threats: that convey a sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, or preoccupation with death
Situations: that can serve as "trigger" points for suicidal behaviors
No matter the reason for behavior changes, mental health and suicide should always be taken seriously. If someone mentions that 7 letter word or is acting in a way that you are concerned about, START THE CONVERSATION with them about how to safety plan and get action. If you yourself are experiencing uncomfortable thoughts, images, thinking patterns, or changes in mood and behaviors, START THE CONVERSATION with yourself and a trusted individual.
Know the signs, start the conversation. One conversation can change a life. #starttheconversationkc
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC