We all experience life differently, including struggles and hardships. That is why it is important for all of us to know the risk factors that could lead someone to attempt to die by suicide. While research has shown there is no one specific cause for thoughts of suicide but there are a number of risk factors we can keep in mind. As we support those in our community, it can be helpful to watch for feelings of hopelessness, despair, and huge shifts in a person’s way of being.
Risk factors can include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Chronic pain
- Physical health conditions
- Mental health conditions (especially when untreated)
- Substance abuse
- Mood disorders
- History of trauma or abuse
- Job loss
- Financial distress
- Loss of relationship(s)
- Inability to ask for help due to stigma of perceived weakness
- Exposure to others who died by suicide
- Bullying and/or experiencing hate speech
When someone is experiencing thoughts of suicide, they may show warning signs, such as changes in behavior. This is especially concerning if changes are related to a traumatic event, loss of friends or loved ones, and/or life changes. It can also important to check in with someone who has been experiencing depression and hopelessness, and suddenly presents as they are their ‘old self’ or okay.
Often people who have thoughts of suicide may say things like I have no reason to live; I feel like a burden to others; I feel trapped; I should die; I can’t live with this pain; it would be easier on everyone if I die.
Other signs can include:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from friends or family
- Exhibiting anxiety, agitation, and/or reckless behavior
- Extreme mood swings or a sudden peacefulness
- Giving away of belongings
- Anger, rage, and/or seeking revenge
Erin Ralston, Aurora Mental Health Center Connect to Care program manager, expressed the following, “what I want everyone to hear is that in the midst of this pandemic, we are experiencing a previously unknown type of stress, that impacts each and every one of us. This pandemic may mean that our normal methods of coping are not as effective. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support, even when you feel like you should be able to handle everything fine. This pandemic has chewed us all up but together we can get through this!”
If you are concerned you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, there is help available.
If you need help call us at 303-617-2300.
Resources if you or someone you know if considering suicide:
Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
For Deaf + Hard of Hearing: 711 then 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, en español: 1-888-628-9454
Veterans Crisis Line & Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Crisis Textline: Text TALK to 741741
In Emergency situations call 911