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How to recognize the signs of suicide in a person? This is what the experts say

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 700,000 people commit suicide each year, it is the fourth leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 19 and 77% of suicides occur in low and middle income countries.

The Ministry of Public Health in 2021 published a publication entitled Operational Guidelines for the Care of People with Suicide Intent and/or Attempts in Establishments of the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador and in the background part it indicated that “suicide comprises one one of the most important public health problems in Ecuador, since it was responsible for 13,024 deaths between 2001 and 2015, which translates into 135,731 years of life lost due to premature mortality during this period. Suicides represent 1.7% of the deaths that occur in the country annually.

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Suicide is the leading cause of death for adolescents in Ecuador

The clinical psychologist Katiuska Delgado indicates that each case shows itself differently, it cannot be generalized because each human being acts differently. “Throughout my experience working with patients who have had not one, but six to eight, up to ten suicide attempts, I have been able to analyze that there are several signs that are repeated in most cases,” she said.

“I have patients of adolescent ages, from 12 to 15 years old, also adults from 22 to 30 years old who have attempted suicide five, six to ten times and who comment that they are failed attempts, that is why we have to be more attentive, observe more our relatives, friends, acquaintances and offer this friendly hand, this listening, without judging for us to be able to prevent this person from committing this act or this passage to the act of ending his life, “he added.

Here are some of the signs, according to Delgado:

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The person is shown drained of hope

“The way in which the subject reacts to disappointment or sadness, which is sometimes silenced for many years, can manifest as chronic depression. ‘There is nothing left’ patients comment, ‘everything is horrible, society and the world is in chaos, they live embracing pain, suffering and surrounded by this festival of horror, which creates an emptying of hope,’ he explained.

They do not allow themselves to observe that there are some better situations

“Only the horror is seen and what is bad is sustained, there are no reasons to live, but the only option they see as feasible is death.”

abandon yourself completely

“When the patient has made a suicide attempt or is about to commit suicide attempts, they neglect their image, their body, their appearance, they lose interest in absolutely everything. They are not allowed to enjoy anything. They say: ‘I can’t enjoy anything, I don’t like life anymore, I don’t like living’, that’s what they always say”.

Loss of meaning of living

“The subject comments that he is in a permanent agony that he feels that he only exists and prays that it ends as soon as possible. It is very sad and heartbreaking to hear in his speech that these patients recount what their day-to-day is like, it is quite sad, because silence is also the most important sign of a passage to the act … ”.

Repeatedly writing or speaking about death or ending your life

“They say phrases like: ‘I’m going to kill myself, I hope I die or I’m so tired of life’ and these comments are not heard and are rather criticized and most people or family members or friends say: ‘they should be strong, they should feel better, stop feeling like this, as if the patient or this person wanted or liked to feel bad, but there is no immovable position that prevents feeling good and that immovable position is not out of nowhere, it is caused or caused by traumas from childhood or adolescence that have been manifesting throughout their lives…”.

Doing risky or self-destructive things

“Like excessive drug use, reckless driving, drunk driving or these risky things that not only put your life at risk, but the lives of others.”

Giving away belongings or putting personal matters in order

“That is also another signal that we should be more vigilant. Say goodbye to others as if it were the last time. Putting a fairly large farewell text on your Facebook profile, you have to pay close attention or publish many memes or many images about death.”

personality changes

“The person who is going to commit suicide or who has suicide attempts changes completely, there is a before and after, why does this happen? Because there has been a trauma, an event that mobilized this person, then that person is no longer the same as before, he was sociable now, no longer, he no longer wants contact with other people, he no longer has good behaviors and is usually associated with rebellion ”.

What to do once the signs of suicide have been identified?

Clinical psychologist Samuel Merlano gives some suggestions:

  • Immediately seek professional help, that is, go to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, where professional counselors
  • Provide support from family and friends. This is very vital for recovery.
  • Within the family, whoever has the best attitude, the most patience, is the one who can be with the patient, so that the latter can feel confident in expressing their emotions.
  • For the patient it is very important to feel heard, since the advice was given by a professional.
  • It is not recommended that the patient not remain alone or isolate himself. You have to motivate him to go for a walk so that he can clear his head.
  • With the initial help of the psychologist or psychiatrist, antidepressants will be prescribed and immediately the work of the clinical psychologist begins, who will help identify suicidal thoughts, what have been the causes, the circumstances for which the person has considered taking his own life.
  • In extreme cases, the patient struggling with suicidal thoughts should be hospitalized.


  • If you need help, you can call line 171 option 6 for free advice on mental health and crisis intervention care from the Ministry of Public Health.
  • Every September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Helpful information can be found on the Pan American Health Organization website. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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