Life can often be difficult and sometimes feel impossible to deal with. Most people find ways to cope, but for others coping is out of reach. Everyone knows the outward signs of suicidal thoughts: openly expressing the desire, withdrawal, etc. However, there are subtle signs that can alert you and allow you to help. These subtle factors are often overlooked since they don’t outwardly scream out for help. They include clinical depression, substance abuse, and family history.
Clinical Depression and Suicide
There is a difference between being sad and being clinically depressed. People who feel sad are sad for a while then pull themselves out of it. People who are clinically depressed can’t find their way out it. If you know someone who seems sad often, they may be clinically depressed. Clinical depression carries with it a high risk of suicide because these people can’t see an end to their internal suffering. They believe that suicide is the only sure solution to their problems.
Substance Abuse and Suicide
There has been numerous studies done on the reasons behind substance abuse. Some of these reasons include depression, abuse, and genetics. Alcohol and drug use are much more common than you might think especially among children between the ages of 12 to 17. Since alcohol and drugs mask the internal struggles that are going on, people abuse them in order to dull their pain only to discover when it wears off that the pain is still there. It is this discovery that often leads to suicide. Substance abusers are at high risk for suicide as they feel alone in their struggles.
Family History and Suicide
People with a family history of violence, substance abuse, and/or depression are at risk of suicide. You may look at someone who comes from an abusive background and think what a strong person they must be, but that is only an illusion. When you are raised in an abusive home or a home of substance abusers, you learn to hide your feelings so you can get by. As you grow up those repressed emotions begin to fester and sometimes become the building block for suicide.
This is not to say that everyone who is depressed or drinks, or has a dark history will commit suicide, but the risk factors are there. Anytime you feel that someone you know may entertain thoughts of suicide, be there for them. Take it seriously. A large part of what makes you human is the capacity to care and want to help. People suffering inwardly are difficult to spot, but when you notice it reach out to them.