Winter Blues – Suicide Prevention

For some, the winter blues or SAD can escalate to suicidal ideation. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of suicidal ideation in others and in ourselves.

According to the Mayo Clinic (Green, 2008), there are several risk factors to be aware of:

  • A prior suicide attempt
  • A present psychiatric disorder
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Family history of mental illness, substance abuse, or suicide
  • Family violence or abuse (physical or sexual)
  • Significant medical illness
  • Compulsive gambling
  • Recent losses – physical, financial or personal
  • Age/Gender/Race (ex. elderly or young adult, unmarried, white, male, living alone)

In addition to the risk factors, there are specific behaviors to watch out for (Green, 2008):

  • Withdrawal from social contact / Desire to be left alone
  • Preoccupation with death, dying, or violence
  • Risky or self-destructive behaviors
  • Changes in routine, sleeping patterns, or eating habits
  • Giving away belongings / Getting affairs in order
  • Personality changes (sudden introversion or extroversion)
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t see them again
  • Talking about suicide or making plans

So, if you recognize some of these behaviors in yourself, what do you do? Get help! You are not alone! Reach out and tell someone what is going through your mind. Seek professional medical help.

What do you do if you recognize these risk factors or behaviors in someone else ( #BeThere! Ask them. Keep them safe. Help them connect. Follow up!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). (n.d.) #BeThere To Help Prevent Suicide. Retrieved from:

Green, J. (2008). Suicide Prevention: Every Nurse’s Responsibility. Retrieved from:¬†


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