Spotting Signs Pointing to Suicide

To the friends and family of a victim, suicide is a devastating tragedy. As experts in suicide cleanup, we’ve seen just how much a suicide can impact the lives of survivors. In an ideal world, such services would never be needed. Suicide prevention and education helps to uncover the risk factors associated with this tragic circumstance.

Who’s at Risk?

Data collected by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shows that nearly 40,000 people died by suicide in 2011, making It the tenth leading cause of death in America. A closer examination of these suicide statistics shows certain factors that may put people at a higher risk of wanting to end their own lives:

  • Age: Over 18% of those who committed suicide in 2011 were between the ages of 45 to 64. Right behind them at nearly 17% were those ages 85 and above. One can only speculate as to what leads those in these age groups to be at a greater risk of suicide, yet combined their numbers were much greater than those of adolescents (11%).
  • Sex: An overwhelming majority of suicide victims were male. 2011 numbers showed that 78.5% of victims were men, keeping with the trend that suicide researchers have seen for years.
  • Race: When comparing the ethnicities of suicide victims, a majority were white (14.5%), compared to Hispanics and Asian or African Americans, each whose group was at around 5%.

How to Help

Pinpointing the issues that drive people to suicide can be difficult as each person deals with the everyday stresses of life in different ways. Yet many of the more common causes that researchers cite include:

  • Socioeconomics
  • Employment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity issues

While these issues are all complex, the key to helping someone cope is not: communication. It may be difficult for others to completely relate to what the other person is experiencing, but the mere presence of an impartial, non-judgmental sounding board can be a critical component to preventing suicide. At the very least, such communication allows others to spot that the individual may be contemplating suicide, which gives them the chance to help take measures to prevent it.

While suicide cleanup is part of our business, we would much rather see that it doesn’t happen. Statistics and historical evidence show that suicide is omnipresent in human society; however, that doesn’t mean that it has to be a part of your life. Should you know someone who is struggling with any of the above issues or is part of a demographic where suicide is a frequent cause of death, the extra attention that you pay to their actions and behaviors may just end up being the difference between life and death.