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

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

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


  • 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

“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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