Monday, September 8, 2008


I've said before that we are often not seated in a vast hotbed of mental health when we go to meetings. The Big Book tells us that there are times when medical attention is necessary to help us sort out our thinking.

Bad things happen to us, even when we're sober: relationships end, jobs are lost, loved ones die. This is part of life, and we're learning to live it on life's terms. Many of us then find that once we remove the alcohol from our brains, we see depression, anxiety, and other related mental conditions.

So it's not uncommon to encounter someone talking about suicide as we trudge this road to happy destiny. These are the common signs of potentially suicidal behavior, provided by the United States Army (and they would know!)

• Talking or hinting about suicide
• Formulating a plan to include acquiring the means to kill oneself
• Having a desire to die
• Obsession with death (music, poetry, artwork)
• Themes of death in letters and notes
• Finalizing personal affairs
• Giving away personal possessions

Suicidal ideations are most common is those who are experiencing life changes that they perceive as totally negative, such as:

  • Relationship problems (loss of girlfriend/boyfriend,divorce, etc.)
    • Substance abuse issues/relapse
    • Work related problems
    • Transitions (retirement, adult children leaving home, etc.)
    • Serious medical problems
    • Significant loss (death of loved one, loss due to natural disasters, etc.)
    • Current/pending legal action
    • Setbacks (academic, career, or personal)
    • Severe, prolonged, and/or perceived unmanageable stress.
    • A sense of powerlessness, helplessness, and/or hopelessness
When someone we know talks about suicide or displays these nonverbal signs listed, it should always be taken seriously. Loved ones of those with these issues should immedaitely get some mental health services for these folks - as much as the depressed individual might not want you to, it could very well save their lives.