InsideChats’s Educational Talks: Suicide and Self-Harm

“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.”
― Juliette Lewis

Trigger warning: Topics discussed are suicide, self-harm, cutting, burning, shame, and negative self-talk among other triggering topics.

This educational talk like the title suggests is on suicide and self-harm. We will be going over the warning signs, symptoms, risk factors, coping and protective factors.

Suicide & Self-Harm

Risk Factors

  • Mental health conditions
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma
  • Physical illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide
  • Recent losses
  • Access to lethal weapons or firearms
  • Recent increase in local suicides
  • Little to no social supports
  • Lack of resources
  • Cultural or religious beliefs
  • Increased exposure to suicide

Warning Signs

The warning signs of suicide are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Rudd, M. D., Berman, A. L., Joiner, T. E., Jr., Nock, M. K., Silverman, M. M., Mandrusiak, M., et al. (2006). Warning signs for suicide: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36(3), 255-262.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Signs and Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Wearing long sleeved clothing on hot days
  • Stating that injuries or accident or due to clumsiness
  • Tends to isolate
  • Challenges with relationships
  • Keeping sharp objects close by
  • Stopping once enjoyed activities
  • Impulsive

Physical Symptoms

  • Scars
  • Fresh scratches or cuts
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Patches of missing hair

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Ongoing questions about personal identity
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness

Psychological Symptoms

  • Emotional numbing
  • Emotional instability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Increased anxiety, unable to self-injure
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Disgust

Valley Behavioral Health System. (n.d.). Signs and symptoms of self-harm. Retrieved from https://www.valleybehavioral.com/disorders/self-harm/signs-symptoms-causes/

Protective Factors

  • Receiving mental health treatment/services
  • Easy access to mental health resources
  • Limited to no access to lethal weapons
  • Strong social support systems
  • Medical and mental health supports
  • Increased skill in problem solving and conflict resolution
  • Increased cultural and/or religious beliefs
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Coping

  • Recognize your trigger and symptoms
  • Keep a list of people you can call when having suicidal thoughts
  • Remove lethal weapons from your home
  • Join a support group
  • Avoid drugs or alcohol
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings
  • Recognize that feelings can be temporary
  • Create a list of reasons to live
  • Have a crisis or safety plan
  • Go to a safe place
  • Distract yourself
  • Talk to others
  • Exercise
  • Implement relaxation or mindfulness techniques
  • Use a wellness toolbox

Wellness Toolbox

  • Create a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more “tools” for coping with depression or other burnout symptoms you have, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.
    • Spend some time in nature
    • List what you like about yourself
    • Read a good book
    • Watch a funny movie or TV show
    • Take a long, hot bath
    • Take care of a few small tasks
    • Play with a pet
    • Talk to friends or family face-to-face or video chatting, Zoom party anyone?
    • Listen to music
    • Do something spontaneous but safe
Photo by Daniel Torobekov on Pexels.com

“Don’t ever forget you are beautiful, although your life, your past and your present situation may be ugly. You are beautiful.”
― Ricky Maye, Barefoot Christianity: The Rough Road Ahead in the Life of a Jesus Follower

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