Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has stirred something inside all of us and has once again started the conversation on the importance of mental and emotional well-being. With media reports suggesting that the actor was suffering from depression, we are all now looking for signs of mental health ailments in our loved ones.
“Every suicide is different. Many are sparked by intense feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness, failure, or panic. But the things that can put an individual at a higher risk for suicide is an episode of depression or anxiety,” explains Dr Bhavna Barmi, a renowned psychologist based in Delhi.
But before you start analysing the behaviour of that friend who is mostly quiet or the sibling who is just not interested in anything anymore, it is important to understand the warning signs of suicidal behaviour.
Here Dr Barmi points out the warning signs of suicidal behavior that must look out for in your friends and family:
1. Talking about suicide
“Making statements such as ‘I’m going to kill myself’, ‘I wish I were dead’, or ‘I wish I hadn’t been born’ are the first signs that the person might be developing suicidal tendencies,” explains Dr Barmi.
2. Social withdrawal
Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone is another sign to look out for, according to Dr Barmi.
3. Extreme mood swings
“Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next is not normal. If it happens once in a blue moon you can still ignore it but if it is happening regularly then it is a cause of concern,” says Dr Barmi. These mood swings can lead to personality changes and might result in the person becoming severely anxious or agitated, according to her.
4. Feeling of hopelessness
“If someone tells you that she or he feels trapped and hopeless about a situation, then this can be another hint,” she says. Talk to that person and find out what’s wrong. If need be, encourage him or her to seek psychiatric treatment.
5. Increasing consumption of alcohol or drugs
“Although depression is not the only reason behind substance abuse, if someone is overdoing it then can be a little worrisome,” explains Dr Barmi. Plus, the damage it does to your body and mind can worsen the situation.
6. Change is sleeping and eating patterns
“If you see that someone around you is either eating way too much or too less or either sleeping way too much or not at all, then it can be another sign”, suggests Dr Barmi.
7. Self-destructive behaviour
“People who develop suicidal tendencies are capable of self-harm. They tend to indulge in risky things such as using drugs or driving recklessly,” she explains.
8. Bidding goodbye
“People who develop suicidal behaviour start giving away their belongings to other people without any logical reason. They also tend to send goodbye and thank you messages to people they love and adore,” she says.
“Suffering a significant loss—such as the death of a partner, loss of a job, a personal crisis, especially one that increases a sense of isolation or leads to a loss of self-esteem, such as a breakup or divorce can, also increase the risk of suicide”, she concludes.
Watch out for these signs in your loved ones and encourage them to seek help
In case someone in your family and friends is showing any of these signs then be their confidant, talk to them, and encourage them to seek professional help.
Thankfully there are various societies, self-help groups, and communities that can help people deal with depression and suicidal tendencies. So, if your friend can’t reach out to them, you take a step forward and bridge this gap.