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Watch for the warning signs of mental illness
Many of us focus on taking care of our physical health and preventing disease, especially making lifestyle changes like eating better to prevent heart disease. Caring for your body is essential for a healthy life, but your emotional wellness is just as important. Mental health problems that are undiagnosed or untreated are strong risk factors for suicide. Knowing what to look for and when to get help is crucial to helping yourself and others.
What Suicidal Thinking Is and What It Isn’t
Whether you’re concerned for yourself or someone else, the first thing to realize is that suicidal thinking does not reflect on who you are as a person. Instead, suicidal thoughts are symptoms of mental illness. This means you shouldn’t expect them to go away on their own, but it also means that there is hope because treatment is possible. Of course not everyone with mental health problems will be suicidal, so you need to know the warning signs that indicate it’s time to seek help.
Some of these warning signs include:
Talking about killing oneself
Looking for a way to kill oneself
Feelings of hopelessness
Withdrawing from others or feeling isolated
If you’re experiencing any of these signs yourself or see them in someone close to you, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Along with warning signs, there are also certain risk factors that create a higher chance of someone considering or attempting suicide. This doesn’t mean that someone with any of these risk factors will commit suicide, but being aware of them helps with prevention.
Some of these risk factors include:
Having a mental disorder
Substance abuse disorders
History of trauma or abuse
Family history of suicide
Major life changes (such as recent job loss or relationship loss)
Among these risk factors, substance abuse is one of the most prevalent. According to Psychology Today, the connection between substance abuse and suicide is so strong in part because many people who abuse drugs and alcohol have underlying mental health conditions that they’re trying to self-treat with substances. This connection goes both directions because substance abuse and the negative consequences it leads to can also trigger depression and anxiety. If you are in this situation, seeking help for addiction is the first step to getting healthier both physically and mentally.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
In addition to seeking treatment for substance abuse or mental health, you can also create a safety plan to protect yourself.
A safety plan can include any of these components:
Talk with someone about your suicidal thoughts. It is dangerous to keep suicidal thoughts to yourself, so reach out to whoever you feel most comfortable with, whether that is a friend or family member, a therapist, your doctor, or a clergy person.
Learn about what’s going on with your mental health and your thoughts. A mental health professional can help you learn to recognize warning signs and what triggers suicidal thoughts so you’re better prepared to handle them. Be honest with yourself, too. There is no shame in having suicidal thoughts, and you’re being extremely brave in being honest about what you’re thinking and feeling.
Find and define your own meaning of hope. Feelings of hopelessness are common for someone who is thinking about suicide, but you can find your own version of hope. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) describes hope as a concept that can mean something different depending on where we are in life. Don’t try to define hope in terms of what it has meant to you in the past. Instead, using a series of questions, you can find and define what hope means to you right now.
Knowing the warning signs and risk factors for suicide is the first step in protecting yourself and others. The crucial next step is seeking help. When you take that next step, whether that means getting help for addiction or seeking mental health treatment, remember that you can find your own definition of hope and change a situation that is temporary.
You are not hopeless. We understand. Our counselors will work with you to transform into positive coping behaviors that promote a sense of happiness and well being. You will be back to an active career and healthy relationships.
A happy, healthy you is within your reach.
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We are a licensed nutritionist, health provider, dietitian, nutritional therapist, nutritional counseling, and a registered/certified/specialist.
If depression, anxiety, ocd, panic attacks, are affecting your behavior, your career, or your relationships, you can get help. The professional counselors at Nutritional & Behavioral Care LLC have over 25 years of experience helping those with anxiety disorder, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. A counselor will be with you through every step of your healing process.