Suicide Prevention The Time to Act Is Now

The Bottom Line

If you suspect someone you know is trying to hurt him or herself, the time to act is now.

The Full Story

If you suspect someone you know is trying to hurt him or herself, the time to act is now.

In 2012, Poison Control received 226,092 calls about suspected intentional harm through poisonings. In an attempt to hurt themselves people turn to pills, both over the counter and prescription, illicit drugs, as well as other household items. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the majority of suicides by substance abuse are by prescription drugs; the next most common substance is acetaminophen.

Those at highest risk include people suffering from mental illness, including depression and substance abuse. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in 90% of suicidal deaths the victims fell into at least one of these categories. Other risks include being male and being over age 65.

Signs of distress include mood changes such as withdrawal or increased drug use. Individuals may indicate suicidal ideation by making blatant statements, having a preoccupation with death and dying or by giving away items. If someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, please seek help now.

If someone you know has attempted to harm him or herself, seek medical attention by calling 911, Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or the doctor.

Amanda McDaniel-Price, RN, BA, BSN
Certified Specialist in Poison Information


For More Information

Information and resources about suicide prevention (CDC)

Suicide Prevention (National Institute on Mental Health)


References

Mowry JB, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Bailey JE, Ford M. 2012 Annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 30th annual report. Clinical Toxicology. 2013;51:949–1229.

Poisoned?

CALL 1-800-222-1222