As we continue on with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (and honestly, physical distancing due to COVID-19), we thought it would be appropriate to learn the warning signs of someone at-risk suicide online. We know that it can sometimes be difficult to interpret text messages or Facebook posts if we don’t know how the other person on the other side of the screen is truly feeling but if we know what we need to look for, it actually does not have to be that difficult. People who are at-risk of suicide often times express one or more warning signs before attempting suicide. In general, a person expressing one or more of the following warning signs in a comment, message, or post may be considering suicide:

  • 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
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Expressing a heightened fixation with death or violence
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

Here are some examples of posts/messages from someone who may be considered at-risk:

  • “People are better off without me.”
  • “My daughter has fibromyalgia and the treatment alone costs too much for us to keep up with everything else. It’s become a full-time job to take care of her and I don’t know how I can keep going on like this. I feel hopeless with all of this and don’t know how I can keep going.”
  • “Hi, I really need some help, can someone please contact me.”

While we encourage active moderation and response online, we do not encourage you to take on the role as mental health care professionals. All engagement with an at-risk individual should be designed to provide appropriate support while connecting that individual to mental health or crisis resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), your local crisis center, or other local mental health providers. You can use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) treatment services locator (1-800-662-4357 or to find resources in your area.

Support for Suicidal Individuals on Social and Digital Media Toolkit:

Posted by:okptacultivate

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