Each year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths or 1 suicide every 40 seconds, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
There is no “typical” suicide victim. It occurs across all ethnic, economic, and social boundaries. However, there are some common warning signs that you should be aware of in friends, family, or co-workers who may be at risk:
- spoken or written threats
- impulsive, reckless, self-harm or aggressive behavior
- increased drug and alcohol abuse
- withdrawal or loss of interest
- hopelessness and/or helplessness
- major changes in sleep or eating patterns
- obsession with death
Recent important losses including job loss, divorce or major breakups, loss of child custody, the death of a loved one, or the suicide of a friend or family member can also be risk factors. Supporting family members, friends, or co-workers who you think may be at risk can make a difference. Talk to them about how they are feeling and let them know you are there to listen and support them and encourage them to speak to a healthcare professional.
If you suspect that someone is at immediate risk of harming themselves, call emergency services (911 in North America, 000 in Australia and 999 in the UK) or take the person to the emergency room at a local hospital. Remind the person that you are there to help support them.
If you are not in the same area as the person who may be at risk, call their local police department and ask that a wellness check be done on the person. Monitor the at-risk person and try to maintain continuous phone contact with the person until a local authority has made contact.
If you or someone you know are struggling with depression or contemplating suicide, we’re here to help. You can call your EAP line anytime or access the LifeWorks app to get support for yourself or to learn more about how to support a loved one.
You can also get additional support from people or agencies that specialize in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
In Canada: Call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566 to connect with someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can offer to get help for people who may be at risk of suicide and those supporting them.
In the UK: Call the Samaritans 24 hours, 365 days a year at 116 123.
In Australia: Lifeline is available for crisis support 24/7 at 13 11 14.
Published by: LifeWorks,