Suicide and suicidal thinking is more widespread than you might think. According to the results of a government survey released in September 2009, roughly 8.3 million adultsor about 3.7% of the population age 18 and olderhad “serious thoughts of suicide” in 2008.
How can you identify suicidal thinking in a loved one before it’s too late? There is no foolproof checklist to follow, but there are some telltale signs that should spur you to intervene and seek the help of a mental health professional.
A diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder
The symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder are the main factors that drive people to consider harming themselves. Depression is a chronic condition and it tends to recur, especially if it’s not treated or is only partially treated. Sometimes the people who live with a depressed person are better at spotting the signs of a relapse sooner than the person himself. Increasing isolation is often a symptom of depression, as is sadness, expressions of worthlessness, and sleeping or eating too much or too little.
In people with bipolar disordera condition in which bouts of depression are interspersed with periods of maniasuicide most often occurs while the person is depressed rather than manic.