Understanding Mental Illness

Depression is a serious mental health condition. When left untreated, symptoms of depression (or other mental illness) can worsen to the point where thoughts of suicide may emerge. At some point in life, many individuals have experienced some level of suicidal thoughts without intent to act upon them. The combination of stressors along with untreated mental illness can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. As thoughts become more specific (i.e. a person makes a plan to kill themselves) risk of attempted or completed suicide increases significantly. Note the following signs/symptoms of depression (and other mental illness) below. If you recognize them in yourself or a peer, read about how to help.

Symptoms of Depression & Other Mental Illness:

  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness
  • Lack of enjoyment/interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Feeling sad, down, “blah” often
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Poor motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep and/or appetite changes (too much or not enough)
  • Frequent crying

Not everyone who suffers from mental illness is highly susceptible to suicide. It is the combination of untreated mental health concerns, high stress, and exhaustion of coping skills that increases risk.

Recognize Common Signs

A person who is thinking of suicide may express some of the following signs:

  • Expresses depression, anxiety, stress, and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Has increased conflicts with or aggression toward others.
  • Talks or writes about death and dying, killing oneself, or ending it all.
  • Starts giving away possessions or tying up loose ends.
  • Withdraws from family, friends, and activities once enjoyed.
  • Increases use of alcohol and/or drugs or engages in reckless behaviors.
  • Gains access to guns, pills, knives, etc.

Get Help

Emergencies: Dial 911

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (TALK)
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

For Hearing and Speech Impaired with TTY Equipment:
1-800-799-4TTY (4889)