Center for Shared Insight, PC

The Intersection of Relationships & Suicide

September 17, 2019
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Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.

While it’s a well-known fact that healthy relationships add to one’s life expectancy, less is known about the effect of relationships and suicide rates. In this post, we’ll examine the impact of positive relationships, toxic relationships, and breakups on suicidal tendencies, signs to look for, and how to get help.

Healthy Relationships

Not only does a romantic relationship contribute to more happiness, all social connections, whether those be with friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues improve well-being. We are primed for connection and community, and being in healthy relationships eliminates feelings of isolation and depression. If you or someone you know is struggling with prolonged sadness and even suicidal tendencies, suggest that they become involved in social groups aligned with their interests. Meetups, community or church groups are a good place to start. Even just getting out of the house and reading a book at a coffee shop versus home alone can open up the possibility of conversation, which is the starting point of any new social connection. 

Toxic Relationships

Not surprising, toxic relationships that are full of deceit, abuse, codependency, and other negative factors, can lead to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and even suicide during and after the relationship. While getting out of a toxic relationship can be a process, surrounding yourself with positive social influences can help lift your mood during this difficult time. Toxic relationships might involve someone with narcissistic and other difficult personality traits and prolonged involvement with this person can result in low self-worth, shame, self-doubt, and/or depression. Identifying these harmful relationships and working to remove them from your life is essential to preventing thoughts of self-harm that can occur from staying in them for too long.

Breakups

A hard breakup can feel life-ending, there is no doubt about it. Particularly, if you have an anxious attachment style and tend to lose yourself in relationships, you could be at risk for depression and even suicide after a meaningful relationship comes to an end. A certain level of emotional vulnerability results from a break-up because of a loss of identity that occurs as a partnership unravels. If you or someone you know has recently experienced a breakup, keep a close eye on their emotional resilience. Reach out and spend time with them, and help them feel connected to others in any way you can. Recognize their vulnerability at this time, and watch for signs of prolonged sadness that often proceed suicidal thoughts and actions.

Taking Action

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you suspect someone you know is suicidal, start by asking questions, including:

  • How are you coping with what's been happening in your life?

  • Do you ever feel like just giving up?

  • Are you thinking about dying?

  • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?

  • Are you thinking about suicide?

  • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?

  • Have you thought about how or when you'd do it?

  • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?

Talking about suicidal tendencies can help those suffering because it gives them a chance to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Of course, if you feel someone is at risk, contact a trained professional immediately, and encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or Text “TALK” to 38255 o reach a trained counselor. 

At Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, we understand that the outcome of a breakup or toxic relationship can be depression, anxiety, social isolation, and sometimes even suicidal thoughts. We work with clients often who are struggling with their own self-worth following challenging relationship dynamics. If this sounds familiar to you, contact our team for a free intake call and consultation. We can help ensure you have healthy relationships in your life that result in stronger connections and more happiness.

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