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Understanding Suicide Signs and Symptoms

With the recent loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain more attention has been drawn to understanding suicide. As a mental health professional, I have had many patients who have come to me with suicidal ideation and luckily none who have carried through with their plan. For that they and I are blessed.

Lets take a moment to understand some of the facts: Suicide indeed is a mental illness. Over 30,000 people each year take their life. On average every 16.3 minutes someone will carry out a suicide. Of those 79% are males and 50% use guns to kill themselves. Suicide has no face it has no economic status and does not discriminate. Numerous people have asked me "how can such successful people want to kill themselves? Because it has nothing to due with success or economic status. It is a mental illness.

Over 70% of those that are suicidal will show signs to friends or family. So what do you look for in a person who may be showing signs of suicidal ideation. 1) Feeling sad or blue 2) Communicating life is hard not worth living 3) Feeling hopeless or helpless 4) Isolating and not wanting to belong or be social 5) May be saying things to partner as to "you would be better off without me" 6) They may give away valuables or things that were important to them are no longer important 7) Loss of interest in hobbies. If you or someone you know have signs of suicide encourage them to get help from a crisis counselor or psychotherapist. Depression and suicidal ideation are treatable.

Below are the symptoms outlined in the Mental Health Manual in diagnosing depression or suicidal ideation.

The DSM major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnostic criteria require the occurrence of one or more major depressive episodes. Symptoms of a major depressive episode include the following:

  1. Depressed mood

  2. Anhedonia (diminished loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities)

  3. Significant weight or appetite disturbance (read more about: Depression and Weight Gain, Weight Loss)

  4. Sleep disturbance

  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation (a speeding or slowing of muscle movement)

  6. Loss of energy or fatigue

  7. Feelings of worthlessness (low self-esteem)

  8. Diminished ability to think, concentrate and make decisions

  9. Recurrent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

  10. Longstanding interpersonal rejection ideation (ie. others would be better off without me); specific suicide plan; suicide attempt

Again, if you or someone you know are struggling with depression get help today or go to your nearest emergency room. Reach out to a professional or anyone you think will be supportive in getting the help you need. If needed call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24/7. Remember DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE ARE TREATABLE CONDITIONS.

Deborah Bruno, LCSW is a Psychotherapist practicing in Aventura, Delray Beach and Boca Raton Florida. Most major medical insurance including Medicare. For more information please contact her at 305-905-7177 or 561-287-2764 or

2627 Northeast 203rd Street #214, Aventura FL 33180

15300 S. Jog Road Suite 109 Delray Beach FL 33446

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