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How to detect and help a suicidal individual

Take the individual seriously, be a non-judgemental listener and seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

By LISA GREENE
Published December 22, 2005


WARNING SIGNS THAT

SOMEONE FEELS SUICIDAL

Dramatic behavior changes.

Withdrawal from friends, social activities, work, etc.

Making a will, or giving away possessions.

Talk of suicide or prior suicide attempts.

History of mental illness.

Taking unnecessary risks, such as abusing drugs or driving drunk.

Preoccupied with death and dying.

Loss of interest in appearance.

Recent loss of loved one, job, etc.

HOW TO HELP

If someone you know talks about suicide, take them seriously.

If you're afraid someone is suicidal, ask. It will show your concern, not encourage them to act.

Listen without judging.

Get help from a professional counselor, doctor or adult you trust.

Even if a friend asks you to, don't keep it a secret.

If the person is in immediate danger, don't leave them alone. Call 911 or a crisis center.

Restrict access to guns, medicines and other lethal instruments.

WHERE TO CALL Call 211 or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). In Hillsborough County: (813) 234-1234. Sources: National Institute of Mental Health, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay

[Last modified December 22, 2005, 21:03:03]


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