According to the World Health Organization in 2021, more than 700,000 people commit suicide yearly. In our society, we have seen a number of cases of seemingly happy, financially stable, and healthy individuals taking their own lives.

Although we may not always be able to tell when a person is depressed and when they start having suicidal thoughts, there are some telltale signs that have been observed and associated with suicide over the years.

1. Self-harm

This occurs when a person hurts themselves as a way of dealing with painful memories or situations. Though these individuals often do this privately, the marks can be observed on their bodies. Self-harm could be a step for a person before considering suicide. These individuals should be given professional assistance as soon as this is detected.

2. Withdrawing from others

This is another common sign for individuals who commit suicide, especially for individuals who are naturally bubbly and outgoing. Withdrawing sometimes means that they are dealing with some difficult or painful situations, and they should be carefully monitored, with professional assistance from a therapist.

3. Recent Trauma

People respond to trauma differently, however, anyone that is going through / recently experienced trauma should be in the company of loved ones and not alone for too long. The recent incident coupled with loneliness may push them down the path of suicide.

Should the traumatized person insist on some time alone, friends and family should oblige but check on them from time to time in the most discreet way.

4. Threatening or Speaking About Suicide

This is perhaps one of the most vocal cries for help. A person speaking about or threatening to commit suicide might be one step away from doing so. Factors like recent trauma could contribute to this, but whether stated jokingly or in a serious tone, the individual should be closely monitored.

5. Drug or Alcohol abuse

Depression could lead to different irrational behavior and can make an otherwise healthy person start abusing drugs and alcohol. Most depressed people say these substances offer temporary relief and numbness that they need, albeit how dangerous it might be to their mental and physical health. Cough Meds, Pain relievers (e.g. Aspirin and Paracetamol), Sleep meds, Alcohol, Caffeinated drinks, etc. are some of the most commonly abused drugs and beverages. If anyone around you suddenly picks up this habit, you should reach out to them and offer/advise them to get professional help.

These are some of the signs that are associated with suicide, but as earlier stated not all will be as noticeable and detectable. However, let’s look out for ourselves and those around us so that we can reduce the rate of Suicide deaths in our communities.

If you notice any signs of depression or suicidal behavior in yourself or others (even colleagues in your workplace), please get professional help.

Our Employee Assistance Programme(EAP) is available to all our enrollees (under any of the Corporate health plans) and offers you access to professional therapists and counselors. You can reach out to us via 0700-CALL-LW-HMO (0700 2255 59 466) or send an email to . You can also contact the Nigerian Suicide Preventive Initiative Counselling Center Hotlines on 234 806 210 6493, 234 809 210 6493, and Lagos Suicide Hotline on +234 903 000 0741

Together, we can create hope through our actions.