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Recognizing the signs and preventing suicide

It is always heartbreaking to hear about someone committing suicide. The news about Aaron Hernandez’, former New England Patriots player had a chilling effect on many of us. Death is tough to get over but suicide leaves a pervasive sting on those left behind.

It’s important to address suicide especially given so many comments being made about Mr. Hernandez’s suicide. His legal team is shocked, his family and friends are shocked — they don’t believe that he would have done something like this. And we may not know what really happened. But suicide is a real concern.

As a clinical therapist we know that depression is the number one cause of suicide. Sadly, depression can many times go unrecognized. Most depressed people exhibiting these signs are at risk of suicide:

  • previous attempts

  • threatening suicide

  • change in behavior

  • poor work or school performance

  • giving away prized possessions

However a small number who commit suicide don’t show any warning signs as in the case of Mr. Hernandez. As a super star he was put in a high pedestal, which likely made him feel untouchable — perhaps contributing to his reckless behavior.

But the question remains, what prompts a person to take his or her life? The truth, no one really knows. What we do know is that individuals can avert suicide by:

  • getting help early

  • verbalizing their thoughts of suicide

  • surround themselves with a team of professionals to help them get through whatever issues are causing distress

  • surround themselves with a strong support system

For Mr. Hernandez, suicide may have been an impulsive act that he may have thought of minutes before he went through it. A once strong athlete with everything going for him had lost everything. It is being said that Mr. Hernandez kept to himself not really showing much emotions up until the last trial when he visibly cried.

If you are going through depression, know that there is always help. Express your feelings to others and if you feel you don’t have anyone to speak with there is always help a phone call away at the Suicide prevention hotline 1-877-727-4747.

My heart goes out to his family.

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