If you saw a stranger starving, would you give them food? If someone were drowning, would you throw a life preserver overboard to save them? What if a friend were bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking, would you drive them to the hospital? If you saw your neighbor being attacked, would you assist or at least call for help? Of course you would. Most people are inherently good. This is what I believe anyhow.
What if I told you that suicide takes more lives in the United States each year than drowning, starvation, snakebites and homicide combined? It’s a statistical fact, yet it would seem to me that it’s one of the most preventable causes of death on the list. Suicide often ranks in the top 10 causes of death in our country. It accounts for more than 40,000 deaths annually.
Sometimes, reaching out to a friend or even a stranger can make a difference. Of course there is no surefire way to 100% identify someone who is considering suicide, but what if educating yourself could save a life? With a little compassion and kindness, you could be an unsung hero.
I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this has had experience with losing a family member, friend or co-worker to suicide. Often times there are indeed warning signs that go unnoticed. Other times, they may show no signs. Awareness and kindness is the best place to start. Who knows, you may have already prevented someone from taking their own life… and never knew it.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline lists these as warning signs. I encourage you to visit their site or any suicide prevention site.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings