Suicide Prevention: Knowing these signs could save a life

If you or a loved one has ever experienced suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. According to the CDC, in 2021, 12.3 million American adults seriously thought about suicide. Northern Light Health is working to increase awareness of dialing 988 among Mainers as a resource to help those who are struggling with a mental health crisis, emotional distress, or suicidal thoughts.

People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide. Warning signs that someone may be at immediate suicidal risk include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to take their own life
  • Talking about feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, such as making a will
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often

Other serious warning signs that someone may be at suicidal risk include:

  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Making a plan or looking for ways to end their own life, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a weapon
  • Talking about feeling great guilt or shame
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • New or increased drug use
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Changing eating or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

Since it was introduced in July 2022, the crisis counselors working with 988 have fielded millions of calls, chats, and texts. In June alone, counselors answered more than 350,000 988 inquiries. Like dialing 911, 988 lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

If you know someone who is exhibiting one or more of these warning signs, don’t hesitate: Call 988. It could make a world of difference to someone you know or love.

For information regarding Northern Light Health Behavioral Care Services please go to Behavioral Care Services - Northern Light Health.