Mental illness and suicide have been known to go hand in hand depending on the diagnoses.

Often individuals diagnosed with a mental illness have symptoms that encompass suicide, such as Major Depressive Disorder.

There are many community resources, warning signs and support that are available for individuals that are suicidal, have been impacted by suicide or work with individuals often that are suicidal.

There is 54% of individuals who complete suicide who do not have a diagnoses, which is understood.

Just to be clear from the beginning I use suicide and completed suicide all interchangeably. I will state that it is an attempt or failed suicide if the individual lived.

Suicide Research

In the United States over 45,000 people complete suicides each day with most being completed by firearm.

Among those individuals, men are four times as likely to commit suicide than women. Within those individuals the age for completion of suicide is between 45 and 65 years old.

Indian and Alaskan natives are more likely to commit suicides. Black children (under 13) are more likely that white children to commit suicide.

While white adults are at higher risk for suicide that black adults. We all have to pay attention to our preteens (age 10 to 15) as they are on the rise for suicides already more likely than death by car accident.

There are many risk factors that are associated with individuals who are more at risk for suicide:

Using alcohol or other drugs

Attempted suicide before

Trauma (neglect, abuse, sexual assault)

Witness other suicides

Family history of suicides

Being incarcerated

Terminal illness

how do mental illness and suicide relate text with chair in a field

Warning Signs

If the individual or family member is: actively threatening or informing you of killing themselves, has begun using drug and alcohol more and has “bad” mood swings. The person is likely to be impulsive and consistently talk about death.

More than likely they will begin to prepare for their death by giving away items, writing letters or saying good bye. Social media-in my opinion- puts a different spin on this because people often post their feelings or will “go live” to disclose what may be affecting them.

Be sure to safe proof your home making it difficult for the individual to be successful in their attempts. Some of the things you can do to ensure the individuals safety is:

Speak with them… sometimes individuals will tell you what their plan is or was so that you will know to lock up weapons, pills, take belts and ropes and limit their access to other potential harmful items.

When you speak with them understand that they are in a very fragile state. Be understanding, actively listen and be prepared for anything when having a discussion about their suicidal ideation.

Develop a plan…I often inform my clients that a Safety Plan is not only for clinicians but also for use with another trusted and safe adult. I advise the family to put it in a central location and I give a copy to the client to have in immediate reach.

Actively involve family members that will be most available to the client; this is most important because families often involve members that do not believe the individual or make matters worse by not being here when they really need it.

I also like for the family to get the member to sign it regardless of not having a clinician available because it holds the individual responsible for at least trying the skills they listed that would help.

Signing the plan demonstrates to the family that the member agrees that if nothing is helping and things are getting worse to take them to the Emergency Department.


Here is downloadable version of a Crisis Safety Plan

Follow Through or Follow Up

If the plan is to take the individual to the emergency room do so! Do not think that you are the expert and can determine whether or not it is serious.

ALWAYS TAKE IT SERIOUS!

I know that hospital may send you back home in four hours but wouldn’t you rather that than waking up to your loved one gone. I think it is worth four hours.

You also want to follow through because it sets the standard and lets you and the family know if the plan needs to be changed.

Follow up with their mental health provider!

Most individuals think that when they are released from inpatient care that they are “cured”. Please know and inform others that hospitals and inpatient care has a goal completely different from outpatient care.

Inpatient care consists of regulating your medication and ensuring your safety. Outpatient care consist of finding ways to cope with your life stressors, decrease mental illness symptoms and increasing quality of life.

Mental health providers are trained and educated to help individuals who are experiencing suicidal ideations. There are many different types of therapeutic techniques and activities one can do to reduce negative thoughts.

Some people have to take medication in conjunction with therapy to become regulated and content.

Where to get help?

Law Enforcement/ EMS 911

NAMI helpline 800-950- NAMI

Text “NAMI” to 741741

Suicide Prevention Line 800-273-8255

Department of Mental Health in your area

Hospital in your area

As always know that I am here to help!

Resources I used:

96 Comments on How Do Mental Illness and Suicide Relate?

  1. Depression and suicidal instincts due to disturbances of various kinds are signals that must be taken into account. Too often it was said “it’s just sad” “it’s just a teenage crisis” and then it was much more and when it was understood it was too late.

  2. what an informative post – thank you for sharing! It’s definitely nice to know all that tips to help and see the warning signs!

  3. Gosh, it is so sad the number of people who commit suicide. For the people still here and contemplating it, all the info here is a resourceful way to help save lives. wonderful post!

  4. Hello,
    This is a great post and needs to be read by everyone. It’s so important to understand mental health! These depression warning signs are so often overlooked! And making a plan for someone who may feel sucidal is very important! Great post!

  5. It’s very important for everyone to know what mental health is so that we couldn’t help those who are suffering from depression.

  6. I am actually quite surprised that men are more likely to commit suicide than women. I had no idea! This is definitely something that needs to be talked about more and I found it quite informative. (Also, this has nothing to do with the post…but how did you add a photo that i can pin on pinterest?)

  7. I feel like this is become a more and more prevalent problem. It’s so important to be informed and know what the signs are. This was a very informative read.

  8. Very few know and understand about Depression. Most people think that it’s just sadness or laziness. I hope with articles like this, more people get to understand this mental illness.

    Camille, restdayadventures.com

  9. There needs to be more awareness on mental health. People are so afraid to admit if they are depressed or suicidal and it shouldn’t be like that.

  10. I’m glad that you addressed such important topic in this post. Mental health is just as essential as physical health. It’s so sad that a lot of people feel ashamed of seeking help. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. I’ve come to realize that people who have sucidal thoughts always need a stromg form of support and love. So it’s important to give them this if we aim to help them out.

  12. I am training to be a Clinical Psychologist so know too well about suicide rates and mental health. Great info and good advice with the support lines etc.

  13. Both myself and my boyfriend have thought about suicide. I never attempted it, but he did and I’m so glad he survived because he’s been my saving grace.

  14. So sad that this is a reality we live in, but it is good to be informed and know how we can help. I’m glad to see more mental health awareness happening these days too. Perhaps we will get to a better day ❤

  15. This is an important subject to discuss, many people still think it is taboo to talk about depression or are afraid to admit they have depression. Sometimes it hits for seemingly no reason at all and it is a very serious condition, if you ever feel depressed I encourage you to seek help even just a shoulder to lean on from a loved one it makes a huge difference.

  16. Thanks for sharing these crucial tips about helping those in need. People in emotional need the love and support they. I hope, as humans, we can reach out our hearts when these people need it the most.

  17. There really is no one thing to watch out for sadly, sometimes suicide comes out the blue and when you least expect it from someone. It’s the ones who act normal that you need to watch out for which is almost impossible sadly… We definitely need more support for men with depression imo.

  18. Mental health is important, and it’s important to not shrug it off you hear someone talking about suicide, show them that you care and you always will, that they are not alone, I had a few friends that fell into depression, but they managed to pull out of it, but it’s that fear that you don’t know if you will get the call that something happened to them and you could have prevented it.

  19. This is such an informative post and you chose the best topic to discuss. Thanks for sharing the knowledge about this illness. Everyone should be aware of this.

  20. It’s definitely important to know the warning signs. That way we can see them in our friends, family, co-workers, etc. and act.

  21. This is a great article, it is extremely informative and useful. Suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss with loved ones. The layout of this post makes it very helpful for both parties. Thank you for sharing!

  22. I think the government has a huge responsibility in spreading awareness about suicide. This is such a great insight about this sensitive topic.

  23. Thanks for posting this information. I have worked in a mental health clinic with Veterans and I have seen first hand some of these symptoms exhibited by some of the patients. Catching the signs early on make the difference between a tragedy.

  24. as an European citizen I’ve always found weird some figures that show how people in Denmark and Finland are the “happiest In Europe” (while Italians are always the less happy, data say) and, at the same time, Denmark and northern countries face the higher number of suicides, while Italy are among the lowest for this statistics. I ask myself how can social “closeness” be on one hand a help and on the other a threat. what do you think about it?

    • I would question the way the data was gathered. Most often they used surveys to analyze individuals “happiness”. Most people are not going to say they are sad “most of the time” even to a stranger. I would also question how much of that is societal norm (stereotypes as you described it) and how much Is truth.

  25. Thank you for bringing this important issue to light with so much information and so many resources as well. increasing levels of stress across age groups does mean we need to watch out for signs and help those we can

  26. I’m so happy you’re writing about this. I feel like so many people actually see these signs all the time but don’t automatically associate them with potential suicide. Thank you 💕

  27. Ugh! Even reading about it i traumatic. Sometimes, cultural expectations and standards to meet push people, mostly women, to suicide. Plus, some medication have suicide as side effects, especially anti-depressants. What!? You give folks a drug to “cure” them of depressive episodes but side effects lead to said episodes your drug is trying to “cure” them of??? Ridiculous!

    • That is true in some cases. The way I explain it is that each anti depressant is not the one for the particular client. You have to find what works for your mind.

  28. Thank you for the additional info regarding these illnesses. They are quite serious so hopefully a cure or a prevention can be done.

  29. Thank you so much for writing about a topic that is so important at the moment. The statistics of people who commit suicide is alarming and a reminder that we as a society should do more to help one another.

  30. Suicide happens far more than I wish to have seen and heard about. Glad that you’re spreading more awareness about mental health and suicide.

  31. Thanks for writing about this sensitive topic. We also have hotlines for suicide prevention here in our country. Unfortunately, I heard a lot of instances that they were not really helpful. 🙁

  32. I think it’s so important to talk about this sensitive subject so as to help more people so thank you for sharing these posts, as you never know whose life this could save by reading through. Mental health needs more awareness draw to it especially when it comes to suicidal rates. As sensitive as the subject is, if people don’t speak out then we are all forever stuck watching out loved ones fall to their mental health or even ourselves. I think this is a great post, that more people really need to read.

  33. That’s a really nice post to read. I believe we all know people who at least had suicidal thoughts, and I truly appreciate you providing the helpful information to help those in need

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