for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.
~ Anne Wilson Schaef
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
checklist is taken out of the book: Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback's Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and
Surviving Suicide Loss by Eric Hipple, former NFL Quarterback for the Detroit Lions (2008).
the checklist he found at U of Michigan Depression Center, and wished that he had this checklist of symptoms of depression
for himself in high school and that he knew the signs so that he could have seen them in his own son, Jeff. Jeff
died by suicide at the age of 15. Looking back, Eric realizes that Jeff had been suffering silently with depression. Eric
tells us that although it is too late to save his son, his hope is that he saves other lives by educating them about depression.
For each statement
below, insert a number score:
0=never/not at all
2=More than half the days
Over the past 2 weeks, how often have you experienced or been bothered by any of the following:
1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
3. Trouble falling asleep,
staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4. Feeling tired or having little energy
5. Poor appetite or overeating
6. Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you are a failure, or feeling that you have let yourself or a loved one down
7. Trouble concentrating on things such as reading or watching television
8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other
people could have noticed, or being so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more than usual
9. Thinking that
you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way
If you scored 1 or more for any of
the above statements so far, how difficult have these problems made if for you to do your work, take care of things at home
or perform at school?
0= Not difficult at all
1= Somewhat difficult
Scores: How to know if you may need help:
If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional treatment.
5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist, or other
mental health specialist.
15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit from a
thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication and
therapy. (U of Michigan's brief diagnostic questionnaire
If you need help, don't panic. However you should seek help immediately. Don't wait. Your doctor
may want to rule out any potential physical causes for how you are feeling. If those are ruled out, then ask for the number
of a mental health specialist who specializes in depression.
Remember DEPRESSION is TREATABLE. It is an illness and
you do no longer have to feel awful all the time. A variety of treatments really do work and you can feel better. You can
feel like yourself again. There is hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Signs of Depression and Possible Suicide Risk:
- Talking about dying: any mention of dying, disappearing, or hurting oneself
- Recent Loss: through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, loss of
money, status, self confidence, self esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, or previously
- Change in Personality: sadness,
withdrawal, irritability, anxiety, tiredness, indecisiveness, apathy
- Change in Behavior: inability to concentrate on school work, work, routine tasks
- Change in Sleep Patterns: insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping,
nightmares, inability to stay asleep
- Change in
eating habits: loss of appetite and weight or overeating
- Fear of Losing Control: fear of going crazy, harming oneself or others
- Low Self Esteem: feelings of worthlessness, shame, overwhelming guilt, self hatred. Thinking
"everyone would be better off without me".
- No Hope for The Future: belief that things will never get better, that nothing will ever change.
- Other symptoms: suicidal impulses, statements or plans, giving away
favorite things, previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, making out wills, agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness or
- Remember: The risk of suicide may
be greatest as the depression lifts, because the sufferer regains enough energy to act on self destructive thoughts.
- Get Help Immediately
The National Institute of Mental Health offers the following
resources if you are thinking about suicide. Bottom line: Get help immediately.
* Call your doctor
* Call 911 for emergency services
* Go to the
emergency room of the nearest hospital
* Ask a family member or friend to call your doctor or take you to the hospital
* Call the toll-free, 24 hour hot-line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected
to a trained counselor at the suicide crisis center nearest you.
Depression is a medical
illness which affects the brain which in turn affects the rest of the body.
affect anyone: children, adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults and older people.
of adults will have suffered from depression at some point in their lifetimes.
Everyone feels down from time to time. However, with depression, these feelings are
more severe and occur nearly every day for two weeks or more.
- Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or numb
- Restlessness, irritability, or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Less interest or participation in activities
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Repeated thoughts
of death or suicide
- Low energy and feeling tired all the time
- Changes in appetite or weight (eating more
- Change in sleep pattern (sleeping more or less)
use of drugs or alcohol
- Self destructive behavior, loss of control, or uncontrolled rage
- May include headaches, aches, pains, digestive problems, dizziness or lightheadedness.
In the United States:
91 people die by suicide each day
Approximately 17% of students
in grades 9-12 have seriously considered suicide in the past year
9% of high school students who admit to one or more suicide attempts, only 1 of 3 will receive help
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds
young people ages 10-24, the suicide rate has doubled in the past two decades
Sex: Men are four times more likely than women to die from suicide, although three times more women than men
report attempting suicide
indicates that both depression and suicidal behavior is linked with decreased serotonin in the brain.
Psychiatric Disorders: At least 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable
Family History: There is an
increased risk for suicidal behavior in individuals with a family history of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia
and certain personality disorders.
Drugs and alcohol are involved in 60% of suicides
Life Events: loss of loved one, career failure, rejection, and abuse
Psychic Pain or Inner Turmoil: Anxiety, guilt, perceived burdensomeness, feelings of not belonging and hopeless
that things will not improve.
individuals are more atp to act on suicidal urgers.
In order to prevent suicide, we must first begin by overcoming our reluctance to talk about it.
Young people are more likely to seek help if social acceptance is
broadened and they receive support and services early on
Education reduces stigmas, thereby increasing our understanding and compassion towards those who suffer from depression.
Communication will help increase emotional support for family and
friends with mental health problems.
from sociologist Ronald Kessler at Harvard Medical School has revealed that "more than half of all cases of mental illness
begin during the teenage years".
What can I Do To Help Someone Who is in Crisis?
- Listen with sincere concern
- Ask them if they have felt this way before and how they have coped with it in the past
- Share a time when you felt similarly and assure them that things can
and will change
- Let them know that many people will
think about suicide but never attempt it
- Stay with
him or her and do something together.
not try to handle it alone. Talk to a mental health professional or call a hotline.
- Call 911 or go with them to the nearest emergency room at the local hospital
Remember that Suicide is NOT a Choice, but a result of a serious
illness....depression (or some other mental health disorder).
Suicide can be prevented.
Some suicides occur without any outward warning, most do not. Most people who feel suicidal give definite warning signs, but
these signs are often not understood, recognized or acted upon until it it too late.
are now promising treatment for depression on both a preventative and treatment basis. With knowledge, understanding and knowing
where resources are, lives can be saved and less people will have to suffer the loss of their loved one. Each life lost
to suicide affects countless families, friends and loved one with unimaginable sorrow and pain.
Help is Available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Psychiatric Emergency Response
Network: 1-866-FOR-PERN (367-7376)
Kristen Brooks Hope Center, National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
National Crisis Line, The Help Line USA: 1-800-334-HELP (4357)