Indicators of risk to self or others
Indicators of risk to self or others can vary depending on the specific situation and context. However, there are some common signs that may suggest an increased risk:
This includes explicit statements such as “I want to die” or “I can’t go on anymore,” as well as more subtle hints like expressing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or being a burden to others. It’s important to pay attention to any significant changes in the person’s language or demeanor that indicate thoughts of self-harm.
A history of previous suicide attempts is a strong indicator of increased risk. Individuals who have attempted suicide in the past are at a higher risk of future attempts, especially if the underlying issues that contributed to the initial attempt have not been adequately addressed.
Having easy access to lethal means, such as firearms, medications, or other potentially dangerous objects, increases the risk of self-harm. It’s important to take precautions and ensure that individuals at risk do not have immediate access to these means.
Persistent thoughts, conversations, or expressions about death, dying, or the afterlife may indicate a heightened risk. This can include talking about wanting to be dead, fixating on themes of death in artwork or writing, or engaging in discussions about suicide methods.
Withdrawing from social interactions and isolating oneself from others can be a sign of distress and a risk factor for self-harm. The person may start avoiding activities, hobbies, or social events they previously enjoyed, and may have difficulty connecting with others.
Abrupt and noticeable shifts in mood, particularly a sudden improvement after a period of severe depression or withdrawal, can be concerning. This may indicate that the person has made a decision to end their life and feels a sense of relief or calmness as a result.
Making arrangements to give away personal belongings or prized possessions without an apparent reason or explanation may be a sign of preparing for the end of life. This action can be an indication that the person has made a decision to die by suicide.
Engaging in reckless or self-destructive behaviors, such as increased substance abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, or engaging in dangerous activities without concern for personal safety, can be an indicator of underlying distress and risk.
Expressing threats or engaging in aggressive or violent behavior towards others can be an indication of significant distress and an increased risk of harm to oneself or others. It’s important to take any threats seriously and ensure the safety of all individuals involved.
Expressing a deep sense of hopelessness, feeling trapped or helpless, and believing that life has no meaning or purpose are significant risk factors. When individuals feel there is no hope for improvement or positive change, they may be at a heightened risk for self-harm.
Remember, if you notice any of these signs or have concerns about someone’s safety, it is essential to seek immediate professional help. Contact a mental health professional, a helpline, or emergency services in your area for assistance.