How do you tell if you or a friend may need help?
Here are signs that you may notice in yourself or a friend that causes concern. They are definitely reasons to talk with someone about how you’re feeling.
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, depressed mood, poor self-esteem, guilt, shame, failure, trapped or as if you’re a burden
- Despairing texts or posts on Social Media
- Withdrawal from family, friends and activities you used to once enjoy
- Crying regularly or more than normal
- Feelings of anger, rage or craving revenge
- Are you overreacting to criticism?
- Reckless, impulsive or other risky behaviors
- Are you drinking or using drugs excessively?
- Are you making reckless or other harmful decisions?
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Are you gaining or losing weight?
- Are you always or never hungry?
- Are you sleeping and still feel exhausted all the time?
- Are you having difficulty falling and/or staying asleep?
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Are you suddenly struggling in school or are your grades dropping?
- Are you misplacing things all the time?
- Restless, agitated, irritable, or anxious behaviors/movements
- Neglect of personal care
- Have you stopped caring about your appearance or stopped keeping up on personal hygiene?
- Have you stopped working out or eating healthy?
- Chronic physical symptoms such as headaches, chronic pain or digestive problems that do not respond to your usual treatment
- Thoughts about death or suicide
- Threatening or planning suicide or hurting oneself
- Making a will and/or giving away prized possessions
- Talking or writing about death or suicide that is out of their character
- Looking for or obtaining ways to hurt oneself such as pills, firearms, or any other means
- Calling, visiting, texting or emailing friends and family to say "Goodbye"
These signs are not always universal; some people may show behavioral changes, while others show physical symptoms. Men and women can also exhibit signs of depression differently. However, if you recognize any of the above signs for more than several days in yourself or a friend, seeking help should always be your first step.
There are many places to get advice, support and treatment for mental health disorders to get you feeling better. Seeking help is really worth it.
Remember: There is help and there is hope. Mental illness is treatable and you will get better. You are not alone.
If you are worried a friend may be thinking about suicide, immediate action is critical.
Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal show signs that they plan to take their own lives. Often those close to them are unaware of the significance of these signals or are unsure of what to do about them. There is no foolproof way to know for sure that a friend is thinking about hurting him/herself, but by recognizing warning signs and taking action, you can help.
The following warning signs of suicide demand IMMEDIATE attention.
- Threats to hurt oneself, or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Talking or writing about suicide or death, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Looking for or obtaining ways to kill oneself by seeking available pills, access to firearms, or by way of any other means
- Giving away prized possessions and other personal belongings
If you notice these signs in yourself or a friend, you should immediately call your school’s emergency phone number or 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, for a referral. If you cannot reach these contacts: go to an emergency room or mental health walk-in clinic, make sure you are not alone until professional help arrives and be sure that any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt are removed.