The Silent Suffering: Suicide Prevention and Emotional Wellness

Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Perhaps many of these cases could be prevented through further knowledge and understanding of the complex emotions that lead people there. People often exhibit warning signs and give off signals that could help friends and family identify when to step in or seek help. 

Most people suffer from suicidal thoughts and ideation for some time before they decide and attempt to take their own lives. Suicidal thoughts often begin with a mental illness like clinical depression. While everyone’s life becomes stressful at one point or another, a persistent and lingering state of sadness can indicate a serious mental health condition. Severe depression can lead people to suicide. 


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ccording to Self, some common warning signs of depression and possible suicidal behavior include:

  • Loss of productivity. We all have slow and “off” days, but if you’re having constant trouble concentrating at work and are not productive, it might be an indication that something is wrong. 
  • Your behavior changes. This can manifest in a variety of ways, but friends and family will usually notice that your behavior has changed and you are no longer the same person. You will stop enjoying and lose interest in the things you used to love.
  • A withdrawal from social life. A person in the throes of depression will withdraw from social interaction and keep to themselves. They tend to pass on outings and gatherings that might usually have interested them. 
  • Self-hatred. People will exhibit words and actions that indicate a deep self-loathing and disregard for one's own safety. This can manifest in risky behavior, substance abuse, self-denial, and neglecting everyday duties and responsibilities. 
  • Looking at death as an escape. According to Healthline, people with severe depression may begin thinking and talking about death as a possible escape to their problems and feelings. Anyone whose depression has reached this critical point should seek help from a mental health professional immediately. 

When to Seek Help

The warning signs will likely be visible for some time before a person decides to attempt taking their own life. Knowing the above indications can help you save a life. If the symptoms persist for a more than two weeks and begin to disrupt the person’s ability to function, it is time to seek a change. If a person mentions the possibility of suicide, it’s best to take it seriously and guide them toward help. 

Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health

The Psychiatric Times reports that alcohol and drug use disorders have been found to be strongly related to suicide risk. Many times, people will suffer from a substance use disorder as well as a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. These illnesses feed off of each other, and when not carefully monitored, can spin out of control. 

According to the National Addiction Institute, “When a person with a substance use disorder is also suffering from a mental health disorder, it is critical that they carefully manage both disorders to ensure that a relapse from one to the other does not occur. Once both disorders are fully active, the person’s condition can turn life-threatening.”

Look for Hope

There is hope and there are plenty of treatment options for people dealing with substance use disorders or mental health issues. Overall wellness tips can include increasing physical activity levels, because taking care of one's body is nutrition for the mind. Exercise has many positive effects on people suffering from depression and other mental health issues. Psychology Today asserts that exercise is the body’s natural antidepressant. People may also try finding a new passion or hobby, which has been shown to help sufferers overcome suicidal thoughts and regain hope in their lives. 

The human heart and mind are complex territories. Everyone’s experience is different, but there is common ground when people get to the most vulnerable of mental states. Understanding some of these common factors and warning signs can help you better prevent someone’s descent into hopelessness and save their life. 

We are grateful to share this guest post from Melissa Howard. You can visit her website here:

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Melissa Howard

Melissa Howard believes that every suicide is preventable. After losing her younger brother to suicide, she felt compelled to create StopSuicide. By providing helpful resources and articles on her website, she hopes to build a lifeline of information.