Suicidal behaviors almost always occur in people with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcohol dependence.
People who attempt suicide are often trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with. Many who make a suicide attempt are seeking relief from:
• Bad thoughts or feelings
• Feeling ashamed, guilty, or like a burden to others
• Feeling like a victim
• Feelings of rejection, loss, or loneliness
Suicidal behaviors may be triggered by a situation or event that the person views as overwhelming, such as:
• Aging (the elderly have the highest rate of suicide)
• Death of a loved one
• Dependence on alcohol or other drug
• Emotional trauma
• Serious physical illness
• Unemployment or financial problems
Risk factors or triggers for suicide in adolescents include:
• Access to firearms
• Family member who committed suicide (almost always someone who shared a common mood disorder)
• History of deliberate self-harm
• History of neglect or abuse
• Living in communities where there have been recent outbreaks of suicide in young people
• Romantic breakup
Suicide attempts that do not result in death are much more common than completed suicides. Many of these suicide attempts are carried out in a way that makes rescue possible. These attempts often represent a desperate cry for help.
The method of suicide may be somewhat nonviolent, such as poisoning or overdose. Males, especially elderly men, are more likely to choose violent methods, such as shooting themselves. As a result, suicide attempts by males are more likely to be completed.
Relatives of people who seriously attempt or complete suicide often blame themselves or become extremely angry, seeing the attempt or act as selfish. However, when people are suicidal, they often mistakenly believe that they are doing their friends and relatives a favor by taking themselves out of the world. These irrational beliefs often drive their behavior.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Call a health practitioner right away if you notice one or more suicide warning signs.
As with any other type of emergency, call 000 immediately. Do not leave the person alone even after phone contact with an appropriate professional has been made.
If you need immediate assistance yourself, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.