HOW TO PREVENT SUICIDE
Suicide prevention, as an umbrella term, involves the collective efforts of local citizen organizations, of health professionals and of related professionals to reduce the incidence of suicide. Beyond direct interventions to stop an impending suicide, methods may also involve:
treating the psychological and psycho physiological symptoms of depression
improving the coping strategies of persons who might otherwise seriously consider suicide
reducing the prevalence of conditions believed to constitute risk factors for suicide, such as poverty or anomie
giving people hope for a better life after current problems are resolved.
General efforts have included preventive and proactive measures within the realms of medicine and mental health, as well as public health and other[which?] fields. Because protective factors such as social support and social engagement—as well as environmental risk factors such as access to lethal means—apparently play significant roles in suicide prevention, one cannot view suicide solely as either a medical issue or as a mental-health issue.
Suicide prevention is risky for health professionals in terms of practitioners’ emotional distress and the possibility of malpractice suits.
Being aware of the warning signs of suicide can allow individuals to direct people who may be considering suicide to get help.
Warning signs include:
Suicidal ideation: thinking, talking, or writing about suicide, planning for suicide
Feelings of purposelessness
Anxiety, agitation, being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
Feelings of being trapped
Feelings of hopelessness
Anger or rage
Recklessness or impulsiveness
Mood changes including depression
Feelings of uselessness
Additionally, the national institute for mental health includes feeling burdensome, and strong feelings of pain—either emotional or physical—as warning signs that someone may intend attempt suicide.
Some signs that someone may attempt suicide include:
strong feelings of pain, either emotional or physical considering oneself burdensome
increased use of drugs or alcohol
The U.S. Surgeon General has suggested that screening to detect those at risk of suicide may be one of the most effective means of preventing suicide in children and adolescents. There are various screening tools in the form of self-report questionnaires to help identify those at risk such as the Beck Hopelessness Scale and Is Path Warm?. A number of these self-report questionnaires have been tested and found to be effective for use among adolescents and young adults.There is however a high rate of false-positive identification and those deemed to be at risk should ideally have a follow-up clinical interview. The predictive quality of these screening questionnaires has not been conclusively validated so it is not possible to determine if those identified at risk of suicide will actually commit suicide. Asking about or screening for suicide does not create or increase the risk.
In approximately 75 percent of completed suicides, the individuals had seen a physician within the year before their death, including 45 to 66 percent within the prior month. Approximately 33 to 41 percent of those who completed suicide had contact with mental health services in the prior year, including 20 percent within the prior month. These studies suggest an increased need for effective screening. Many suicide risk assessment measures are not sufficiently validated, and do not include all three core suicidality attributes (i.e., suicidal affect, behavior, and cognition). A study published by the University of New South Wales has concluded that asking about suicidal thoughts cannot be used as a reliable predictor of suicide risk.
The conservative estimate is that 10% of individuals with psychiatric disorders may have an undiagnosed medical condition causing their symptoms, upwards of 50% may have an undiagnosed medical condition which if not causing is exacerbating their psychiatric symptoms. Illegal drugs and prescribed medications may also produce psychiatric symptoms. Effective diagnosis and if necessary medical testing which may include neuro imaging to diagnose and treat any such medical conditions or medication side effects may reduce the risk of suicidal ideation as a result of psychiatric symptoms, most often including depression, which are present in up to 90–95% of cases.