Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 90 percent among those who die by suicide have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Along with being reluctant to discuss mental health issues in general, many people are uncomfortable discussing suicide. But experts agree that the best course of action is talking directly and openly when there is a threat of suicide. By reaching out for help or checking in with friends and family, we can avoid devastating outcomes.
Cigna, the administrator of the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), offers suicide awareness and prevention information, for help with understanding the warning signs and risks factors as well as what to do when you have concerns that a loved one, friend, or colleague may be having suicidal thoughts. Warning signs may include
Seeing one or more warning signs in a person who has suffered a significant loss may indicate increased risk. Examples could be a death or divorce, a relationship breakup, the loss of child custody, a home foreclosure, bankruptcy, or job loss. Other significant risk factors are severe financial stressors, legal problems, an event causing disgrace or shame, substance abuse, and impulsivity.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
Keep in mind, suicidal thoughts are a symptom. Like other symptoms, including those of mental health conditions, they can be treated — and they can improve over time. Learn about mental health resources available through the Board of Pensions.