Some attitudes to look for
Depression: Nothing seems important anymore. Life’s a bad joke.
Hopelessness/helplessness: There is nothing I can do to change this.
Purposelessness: There is nothing to live for; there is no point to anything.
Worthlessness: I can’t do anything right. No one cares if I live or die.
Overwhelmed: I can’t stand this anymore. This is way too much for me.
Intense worry/anxiety: Everything is falling apart. Everyone is going to be disappointed in me.
Recklessness/impulsiveness: I don’t care if I break my neck.
Elation: Everything is perfect now! (suddenly, after someone has been in a lot of distress)
Some significant losses to look for
Death of a loved one, especially by suicide
A key relationship unraveling or ending
Instability/turmoil at home/in one’s family
A severe change in social status or sense of belonging
Unemployment, loss of a highly valued ability or activity
Fear of disciplinary action/incarceration/physical violence
Trauma from sexual or other assault
Trauma from serious illness or injury
Major financial/economic loss
Understanding and Recognizing When someone may be Suicidal
We are not responsible for the decisions that someone else makes. However, we are often in the best position to recognize and initiate the first response to someone experiencing a suicidal crisis. Some suicides (20%) occur without any warning and others occur despite the very caring responses of friends, family and helping professionals. Suicide is ultimately a personal choice – it is not our job to ‘save’ someone else’s life, only to offer them other options.
International Association of Fire Fighters Local 18 / Vancouver Fire Rescue Services
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