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January 15, 2021
Recognizing The Signs Of Suicide

Shift Team

A person reaching out their hand for help while being submerged under water.

Suicide Is A Topic That Is Not Openly Talked About

Suicide is the intentional act of ending one’s own life. In Canada, an average of 10 people die by suicide each day according to Statistics Canada, making it the 9th leading cause of death in Canada as of 2018. These numbers are alarming, especially with risk factors being high for those between the ages of 15-24.

We also know that people who are contemplating suicide do want help and that for some suicide seems to be the only choice because there’s no other solution to escape something that might be emotionally overwhelming or painful for that person. Knowing this, it’s important that we look out for signs of suicide so we can all work together to limit the number of deaths as a result of suicide.

Suicide can look differently for the person contemplating suicide versus for those who are recognizing it for a loved one. Here are some signs to look out for when …

You’re the one contemplating suicide:

  • You might have thoughts or imagine how suicide will look like for you
  • You have strong need to escape but don’t think there’s any way out except by dying
  • You may have feelings that you’re a burden on others
  • You may be isolating or withdrawing from those you love
  • You make a joke about suicide as a way to reach out and see how others might react
  • You’ve recently experienced a loss or a difficult transition (when it’s hard to adjust to a change and you’ve carried great expectations for yourself, that can also mean you’re experiencing a loss of those ideals/expectations)
  • You are experiencing hopelessness, worthlessness, or self-contempt

You’re recognizing signs in a loved one:

  • Your loved one is isolating or withdrawing themselves from others
  • Your loved one is giving away person items
  • Your loved one talks or hints about what life would look like without them and can seem hopeless
  • Your loved one’s mood can appear impulsive or low/depressed
  • Your loved one is highly agitated or irritable
  • Your loved one is using drugs and alcohol more

These lists are not inclusive of all experiences when it comes to recognizing signs of suicide. It’s important to talk to someone you trust about what you’re experiencing and to see support from a medical professional. Crisis Services Canada is also a great support. You can call 1-833-456-4566 or text “start” to 45645.

This article was written by Vivian Zhang during their time at Shift Collab.

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