In 1980, Ozzy Osbourne wrote a song called Suicide Solution that appeared on his Blizzard of Ozz album (a great album if you happen to a metalhead). There is some debate about what it is about. In 1978, nine hundred people died in a suicide/murder plot at the hands of the cult leader Jim Jones. More recently, Netflix has produced, 13 reasons why a show centering around the problem of suicide. Finally, the problem of suicide has become into our consciousness again, two prominent people, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have committed suicide creating a heightened awareness of suicide awareness. In the interest in combating the problem of suicide, I would like to offer the following warning signs.
One of the ways we can help people around us who struggle with suicide is to be sensitive to them talking about thoughts of death. This means they might think of death itself or different ways of dying. They also might suggest that everyone would be better off without them around. They might also think thoughts about being dead. They also might have specific thoughts about harming themselves. This type of preoccupation with death can be an indication that he or she might need help.
Intention to Commit Suicide
Another issue to think about is whether or not a person intends to hurt himself. There’s a big difference between somebody who simply thinks about death and somebody who intends to hurt himself. Intention is an escalation in how seriously at risk someone is. Sometimes a person will have dark thoughts without any intention to hurt themselves. However, sometimes a person might have thoughts of death and intend to act on it.
Plan to Commit Suicide
Finally, we should be concerned about our friend or family member who has a plan for how they might hurt themselves. Someone who has a plan might already be thinking about the way they would commit suicide. For instance, they might think “I’ll use a gun“ or “I’ll hang myself.” Consequently, we should be listening for the method of suicide they might use if they did it. If a person has gotten so far they have begun planning how they would actually do it then the best course of action is to get them help.
If we have someone in our lives who struggle with suicidal thoughts, our objective should be to get them help. You can pay attention to them. Look for signs of suicidal thoughts, intention, and a plan. Get them a counselor, take them to a physician, call 911, or take them to an emergency room.