A suicide crisis, suicidal crisis, or potential suicide, is a situation in which a person is attempting to kill him or herself or is seriously contemplating or planning to do so. It is considered by public safety authorities, medical practice, and emergency services to be a medical emergency, requiring immediate suicide intervention and emergency medical treatment.
Nature of a suicide crisis
Most cases of potential suicide have warning signs. Attempting to kill oneself or harming oneself, talking about or planning suicide, writing a suicide note, talking or thinking frequently about death, exhibiting a death wish by expressing it verbally or by taking potentially deadly risks, are all indicators of a suicide crisis. More subtle clues include preparing for death for no apparent reason (such as putting affairs in order, changing a will, etc.), writing goodbye letters, and visiting or calling family members or friends to say farewell. The person may also start giving away previously valued items (because he or she "no longer needs them"). In other cases, the person who seemed depressed and suicidal may become normal again; these people particularly need to be watched because the return to normalcy could be because they have come to terms with whatever act is next.
Depression is a major causative factor of suicide, and individuals suffering from depression are considered a high-risk group for suicidal behavior. More than 90% of all suicides are related to a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder, or other psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia. The deeper the depression, the greater the risk , often manifested in feelings or expressions of apathy, helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
Suicide is often committed in response to a cause of depression, such as the cessation of a romantic relationship, serious illness or injury (like the loss of a limb or blindness), the death of a loved one, financial problems or poverty, guilt or fear of getting caught for something the person did, drug abuse, old age, concerns with sexual identity (that is, wanting to be a member of the opposite sex), among others.
In 2006 WHO conducted a study on suicide around the world. The results in Canada showed that 80-90% of attempts failed (an estimation, due to the complications of predicting attempted suicide). 90% of failed suicides investigated lead to hospitalizations. 12% of attempts were in hospitals. 10% of suicide attempts are committed by criminals.
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- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US) - 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service for persons in a suicide crisis.