The third Monday of January is known as “Blue Monday” because it is statistically the most depressing day of the year. Blue Monday was a difficult day to begin with, and as we trudge through yet another COVID wave, it is especially important to be aware of the risk of losing our loved ones, coworkers, and friends to suicide. Now is a good time to check in with yourself and those around you.
If you or someone you know if contemplating suicide, get help immediately by calling 911. You can also reach the National Suicide Hotline 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 or dialing 1-800-273-8255.
Why someone would consider suicide
Research shows that many people who contemplate suicide suffer from depression, a clinical illness that can be treated successfully but often is ignored. A person who contemplates suicide often believes that there is no other way out. They may consider suicide for many reasons, including feelings that they:
- Are misunderstood and ignored by others
- Are rejected by family, friends, and society
- Are isolated and alone
- Are depressed about a recent trauma such as illness, divorce, or death of a loved one
- Have a serious chronic illness or is in chronic pain
If someone you know exhibits any of the following warning signals, take the possibility of suicide seriously:
- Talking about suicide and death
- Symptoms of depression
- Sleeping and eating disturbances
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Difficulties at work or school
- Neglect of appearance
- Drug or alcohol abuse
What you can do
Talk to the person. If you suspect that a friend or family member may attempt suicide or if the person broaches the subject with you in person or on the phone, do not be afraid to discuss the matter.
Be open about the subject. Be direct. Remember that no topic is taboo when someone is serious about suicide.
Listen sensitively. Let the person talk it out with you. Avoid interrupting him or her. Refrain from being judgmental. Do not lecture about whether suicide is right or wrong.
Do not challenge the person. Do not try to dare him or her to do it or shock the person out of the idea of suicide. Concentrate on listening, understanding and getting help.
Let the person know you care. Demonstrate that you are trying to understand and that you are concerned and encourage them to seek help through the Employee Assistance Program.
Take immediate action in a crisis. If the person expresses an imminent desire to kill themselves or if they have the means available, call your local emergency number immediately. Offer to accompany the person to the nearest emergency room if it is safe to do so.
If there is any risk to your own safety, call the police. Their intent will be to help, not to arrest your friend. Be sure to notify the police if any weapons may be involved.
Immediate emergency resources
Call 911 if you suspect that someone is at imminent risk of death due to suicide.
Resources for those at mild to moderate risk
UW CareLink is your employee assistance program and can connect you with community counselors. This UW based program provides eligible employees and their household members with 5 free counseling visits. You can access this resource by calling 1-866-598-3978 (TDD 800-697-0353) or by logging into the GuidanceResources website to chat with a Guidance Consultant. If it is your first time logging into the website, us “UW” as the organization code.
Call SafeCampus 24/7 to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others by dialing 206-685-7233. SafeCampus is the UW’s violence-prevention and response program that supports students, staff, faculty, and community members in preventing violence.
WA Warm Line is a confidential peer support help line for people living with emotional and mental challenges. Calls are answered by specially trained volunteers who have lived experience with mental health challenges. Dial 877-500-9276.
- King county: 1-866-427-4747
- Snohomish county: 1-800-584-3578
- Pierce county: 1-800-576-7764