Recognizing Suicidal Behavior

Suicide is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious potential consequence of many mental disorders, particularly major depression.

Who is most likely to commit suicide?

Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. People over the age of 65 have the highest rate of suicide. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to be successful. Suicide risk also is higher in the following groups:

What are the warning signs for suicide?

Following are some of the possible warning signs that a person may be at risk for suicide:

Can suicide be prevented?

In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, recognize the warning signs for suicide, and intervene before the person can complete the process of self-destruction.

People who receive support from caring friends and family, and who have access to mental health services are less likely to act on their suicidal impulses than are those who are isolated from sources of care and support. If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide. In some cases, the person just needs to know that someone cares and is looking for the chance to talk about his or her feelings. You can then encourage the person to seek professional help.

What should I do if someone I know is talking about committing suicide?

If someone you know is threatening suicide, take the threat seriously.

References

 

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ or www.clevelandclinicflorida.org. This document was last reviewed on: 3/15/2017

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