The common link among people who kill themselves is the belief that suicide is the only solution to a set of overwhelming feelings. The attraction of suicide is that it will finally end these unbearable feelings. The tragedy of suicide is that intense emotional distress often blinds people to alternative solutions... yet other solutions are almost always available. We all experience feelings of loneliness, depression, helplessness, and hopelessness, from time to time. The death of a family member, the breakup of a relationship, blows to our self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and/or major financial setbacks are serious which all of us may have to face at some point in our lives. Because each person's emotional makeup is unique, each of us responds to situations differently. In considering whether a person may be suicidal, it is imperative that the crisis be evaluated from that person's perspective. What may seem of minor importance to someone else - and an event that may be insignificant to you can be extremely distressful to another. Regardless of the nature of the crisis, if a person feels overwhelmed, there is danger that suicide may seem an attractive solution.
At least 70 percent of all people committing suicide give some clue as to their intentions before they make an attempt. Becoming aware of these clues and the severity of the person's problems can help prevent such a tragedy. If a person you know is going through a particularly stressful situation - perhaps having difficulty maintaining a meaningful relationship, having consistent failure in meeting preset goals, or even experiencing stress at having failed an important test- watch for other signs of crisis.
Many persons convey their intentions directly with statements such as "I feel like killing myself," or "I don't know how much longer I can take this." Others in crisis may hint at a detailed suicide plan with statements such as "I've been saving up my pills in case things get really bad," or "Lately I've been driving my car like I really don't care what happens." In general, statements describing feelings of depression, helplessness, extreme lone-lines, and/or hopelessness may suggest suicidal thoughts. It is important to listen to these "cries for help" because they are usually desperate attempts to communicate to others the need to be understood and helped.
Often persons thinking about suicide show outward changes in their behavior. They may prepare for death by giving away prized possessions, making a will, or putting other affairs in order. They may withdraw from those around them, change eating or sleeping patterns, or lose interest in prior activities or relationships. A sudden, intense lift in spirits may also be a danger signal, as it may indicate the person already feels a sense of relief knowing the problems will "soon be ended."
Most suicides can be prevented by sensitive responses to the person in crisis. If you think someone you know may be suicidal, you should:
UCLA suicide prevention experts have summarized the information to be conveyed to a person in crisis as follows: "The suicidal crisis is temporary. Unbearable pain can be survived. Help is available. You are not alone."
Community College of Rhode Island - Advising & Counseling Center
Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Phone: (401) 825-2301 (401) 333-7160 (401) 455-6063
Suicide 24-Hour Hotline 800-365-4044
Depression National Foundation National Foundation 800-248-4344
EMERGENCY SERVICES and/or POLICE ASSISTANCE from Campus Phones:
Campus Security x2109 (Warwick) x7035 (Lincoln) x6050 (Providence)
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