Suicide can be explained as causing harm or injury to oneself with the intent to die. It is estimated that one person dies by suicide every 11 minutes. Suicide occurs worldwide, but over 77% of reported suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, suicide accounts for over 700,000 deaths and is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 to 34.  

Suicide might be an impulsive event, but in most cases, people will display warning signs before they go through with it. Here are 5 important warning signs to be aware of: 

The person talks about or plans for death: a person who is suicidal may repeatedly talk about death or ending everything or taking a break from everything. Sometimes, they may talk about feeling hopeless or having nothing to live for. In certain instances, they may focus on how people in their lives would be happier if they were not there. This kind of talk may be paired with specific ways they intend to do it such as drinking a toxic substance or jumping off a high place. Suicidal ideation is classified as an immediate suicide risk and should be taken seriously.   

A history of mental health disorders: certain mental health conditions increase the chances that a person will have suicidal tendencies and commit suicide. They include alcohol/substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and depression. Among these disorders, depression is most notable for its very strong link to suicide. People with depression are 20 times more likely to attempt or commit suicide than the rest of the population. Depression is a key factor in about 50% of recorded suicides. 

The person is suddenly happy or at peace: the decision to commit suicide is often made after a period of dealing with a form of crisis. The person who was unhappy and withdrawn, suddenly appears happier or calmer than they were. They spend time with friends and family and may even give out priced possessions to others. People around the person tend to misinterpret this sudden happiness as a recovery but in most cases, it’s the person’s way of saying goodbye.   

The person has recently experienced a major life crisis: one key reason why people attempt suicide is as a means of escape from one’s life. Events such as financial bankruptcy, death of a loved one, loss of one’s home or means of livelihood, diagnosis of a chronic illness like cancer, relationship breakup or divorce, natural disasters, sexual assault, false accusations, and legal issues can lead a person to suicide.   

The person displays very reckless/dangerous behaviour: when a person is having suicidal thoughts, they may intentionally engage in dangerous behaviour they would not engage in normally. They may start or increase their use of drugs and alcohol, drive recklessly, pick fights with people, use high dosages of medication, or go to dangerous places alone. For people who have access to lethal weapons such as guns or toxic substances such as acid or industrial chemicals, reckless behaviour may quickly result in suicide.  


People who attempt or commit suicide often see it as the only means of escape from extreme mental distress. Suicide is not a sign of weakness nor is it a personal failing. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please don’t give up, use available resources and expert help to turn around. 

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