Did you know that every 26 hours somebody commits suicide and every 40 minutes someone tries to commit suicide in Puerto Rico? Unfortunately, 86% of suicide victims are male. The impact of suicide is greater than you think. For each person who commits suicide, there are 10 to 20 others who are affected: family, friends, and the community. According to the Puerto Rico Department of Health’s Suicide Prevention Commission, those at a greater risk are teenagers (ages 13 to 18), drug and alcohol users, people with chronic pain, men, and adults.
Look out for the following warning signs:
- Aggressive behavior: irritability, anger.
- Passive behavior, isolation.
- Alcohol and drug use.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Sudden mood swings.
- Little in interest in work.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Loss or absence of friends.
- Constant sadness.
- Loss of a significant person.
- Loss of something important: work or belongings.
- Obsession with death.
- Giving away cherished things.
- Talking about or making a will.
- Talking about or making pictures about death.
- Uttering expressions of despair or desperation: “My whole life has been useless”, “I’m tired of struggling”, “My situation is helpless”, “I want to end everything”, “I would love to disappear”, “I want to rest”, “It’s no use to go on living”, “Nobody loves me and it would be best if I died”, among others.
We can help avoid suicide. Take any and all suicide threats or attempts seriously. Never judge, scold, preach, or joke about the situation. Let the person know that you want to help him/her and do not leave him/her alone. Make sure he/she gets professional help. You can call the”
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
By: Tania Mangual-Monzón
References: “El Silencio es Mortal ¡Hablemos! para salvar vidas” (“Silence is Deadly. Let’s Talk! to save lives”) Suicide Prevention Commission, Puerto Rico Department of Health