Suicide Awareness – how to identify someone who is a suicide risk

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 31 Oct 2022

Suicide Awareness – how to identify someone who is a suicide risk

Suicide stems from mental health issues like depression or trauma, and it can be challenging to identify those at risk. According to the Samaritans (Singapore), in 2021 there were 378 reported cases of suicide, with 30% committed by youths aged 10 to 29. Suicide awareness is vital for the prevention of unnecessary deaths. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors are all professionals and trained in identifying those in danger, however, it can be challenging for those not medically trained to ascertain those at risk. Someone may present as ‘being a bit down’ or even depressed, however, coping with these thoughts does not necessarily mean they are a suicide risk.  

So what are the warning signs of suicide so that you are furnished with the facts and can help someone at risk.

Warning signs of suicide 

There are many warning signs that someone may be considering taking their own life. The list below could be an indicator but they should be assessed by a medical professional. .

  1. Talking about wanting to die or hurt oneself 
  2. Expressing feelings of hopelessness 
  3. Talking about being a burden to others 
  4. Increasing reliance on alcohol or resorting to drug abuse 
  5. Withdrawing from friends and activities 
  6. Abnormal mood swings 
  7. Giving away prized possessions 
  8. Writing or speaking increasingly about death 
  9. Sudden and abrupt changes in behaviour  
  10. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t see them again 

It is important to remember that these warning signs are just that – warning signs. They do not mean that someone is definitely suicidal, but they are worth taking seriously and enquiring further.  

Talking about suicide

If you are worried about someone, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it. Asking directly if they are thinking about suicide could help in preventing it, as it shows them that you care and want to help. 

In fact, normalising such conversations and removing their stigma is helpful in creating more awareness about the importance of mental wellness. It also ensures that people who are in need of help do not feel alienated by their circumstances. This added element of ‘community’ allows people to find strength in others which may lighten their own load. It is also an idea to offer to accompany them when they see a doctor. At Osler Health, we see a lot of patients who come to the clinic for mental health concerns.

If you think you may be suicidal, reading this is a positive first step. This indicates you have enough self awareness to recognise the situation and are aware of the potential risks. The next step is to make an appointment to speak to a trusted doctor or reach out to family member or friend. 

Talking about suicide openly can be very difficult, but we are here to help and can aid you in returning to a better mental head space again.

How the Osler Health doctors can help

Undeniably, it’s never easy to initiate conversations about suicide, even with a healthcare professional. At Osler Health we offer a range of services to support patients dealing with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. We have experienced mental health doctors who will  assess and provide treatment for patients dealing with suicidal thoughts or other mental health problems. 

At Osler Health, our doctors are experienced in mental health and have supported many people through challenging times. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to us for help – we are here for you. 

We have two clinics – one is located at Raffles Hotel Arcade and the other is at Star Vista (off Holland Rd). We have both male and female doctors and are available to support your needs.  For  more information on the mental healthcare services please visit Star Vista or Raffles Hotel Arcade for an appointment. 

Raffles Hotel Arcade Star Vista