Long-Term Care

The warning signs of suicide

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, July 14, 2011

Residents suffering from depression (a mental disorder marked by sad or irritable mood lasting more than two weeks) or anxiety (a feeling of concern or worry that includes increased alertness or awareness) may decide they want to end their life. It is important to be alert to things that might indicate a person is seriously considering suicide. The suicide rate is twice as high in people over age 65 as it is in younger age groups. Untreated or mistreated depression can lead to suicide. Pay attention to the following warning signs and report them to a supervisor:

  • Talking about suicide. Statements such as “I have no reason to go on living” are danger signs.
  • Being preoccupied with death.
  • Giving items away.
  • Stockpiling pills or obtaining some sort of weapon.
  • Refusing to follow doctor’s orders about medications or diet.
  • Making unusual calls to family and friends; saying goodbye to loved ones.
  • Getting affairs in order or making funeral arrangements.
  • Losing interest in things or people that used to be important.
  • Suddenly becoming happier and calmer after a period of depression or anxiety.
  • Talking about how worthless or helpless they are; saying they have no hopes or plans.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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