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Dial 988 ... if you need suicide crisis help!

At Sanctuary Christian Counseling one of the saddest things we see is people who have lost hope – who despair, and who want to give up on life. Some of them seriously consider ending their lives.

Suicide is never the answer, but sometimes it feels like it is. When your pain is so great, it’s tempting to end it however you can.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among children and adults in the United States, with nearly 46,000 people dying at their own hands in 2020, according to This is one death every 11 minutes, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even one would be too many, but 46,000 is FAR too many.

What can you do? Well, spotting early signs of suicidality in someone is not easy, and even experts often get it wrong, but here are some of the signs to look for ...

· Although many people give little or no sign they are contemplating suicide, some people act in ways that are unusual for them. Sometimes they “rehearse” and experiment with lethal substances or agents, like guns or pills or become foolhardy or risk-taking.

· Sometimes they experience mood swings, especially when they’ve made up their mind to commit suicide, which, while devastating, might actually make the depressed person feel better that the decision was made.

· Another potential red flag is giving away things with meaning to the person.

· Sleeping or eating too much or too little can also herald a suicide attempt.

· Even more profound isolation, anxiety, agitation or recklessness can also be signs.

· Sometimes people talk about wanting to die, and this can also be a warning sign.

· Hopelessness is a hallmark of some who attempt or succeed at suicide. When there’s nothing to live for in someone’s mind, it becomes easier not to live.

· People who are contemplating suicide often feel they are a burden on their families, that they have no value or contribution to make, and that it would be better for others if they were not there.

· A family or close associate connection or past suicide attempts also predict suicidality, as does chronic pain and life changes, like job, spouse, financial, child or friend loss.

Whatever the signs – and all of these should be taken seriously – it’s important that those around the person help them to seek professional help. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask, in supportive ways, how you can help. Statistics show you will not cause someone to kill themselves by asking them about suicide, but you may save their life. If they seem at risk or you feel they may attempt suicide, call 911 or get them to the ER immediately. They may be angry with you, but they will be alive to be so.

If YOU are the one for whom these signs resonate, find someone to talk to who you can trust and feel comfortable with. Consider medications that might help with the underlying depression and get the help you need before the worst happens. Call 988, which is a national suicide help line, similar to 911, which is also a good number to call. The original Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) is also available.

Unfortunately, we are not always able to predict who will or won’t die by suicide, which often leaves a devastation in the family and friends left behind. Most of the time, there’s nothing concrete you can do, and often the family doesn’t see the pain of the person who kills themselves. This doesn’t make their pain any less, but it does underscore how complicated this topic is and how difficult it is to deal with in our culture.


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