Why do people take their own lives?
Suicide is a very complex issue and often there isn't one main reason why someone decides to take their own life.
It can be the result of problems building up to the point where they can see no other way to cope with what they're experiencing.
The kinds of problems that might put people at risk of suicide includes:
- recent loss or the break up of a close relationship
- an actual and/or expected unhappy change in circumstances
- painful and/or disabling physical illness
- heavy use of, or dependency on, alcohol or other drugs
- history of earlier suicide attempts or self-harming
- history of suicide in the family
What are the signs of someone being at risk of suicide?
It's not always possible to identify people who are going through emotional distress. However, some of the following signs may indicate someone is in poor emotional health:
- lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
- appearing more tearful
- not wanting to talk or be with people
- not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
- a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
- using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
- finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- appearing restless and agitated
- not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don't matter
- being un-typically clumsy or accident prone
- becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
Signs someone may need support
Sometimes people say things which might help you recognise they are struggling to cope:
- making leading statements, such as 'You wouldn't believe what I've been through' or 'It's like the whole world is against me'. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will pick up on them and ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.
- negative statements about themselves, such as 'Oh, no one loves me', or 'I'm a waste of space', even if it sounds like they are joking.
We want to remind people that if a friend says that life isn’t worth living, they should always be taken seriously.
Catherine Johnstone, Former Samaritans CEO
Samaritans listening tips
Check out our listening tips for some advice on how to support your friends