Rashaan Salaam, 1994 Heisman Trophy winner and 1995 first round NFL draft pick was found dead December 5th, 2016.  His mother reports suspected suicide because they found a note.  Rashaan’s first season with the Chicago Bears he rushed for over 1000 yards and had 10 touchdowns his rookie year.  However, injuries slowed him down the next 2 years with the Bears and shortened his career in football.  So many people are asking how could someone with so much talent take their life?  Was Rashaan tortured by what his career could have been without the early injuries?  Was it head injuries from the NFL?  We may never know the answers, but many are asking how can we help prevent others from doing the same thing?  What can we look for? What are the signs?

Suicide is death caused by intentional actions. Suicide ideation is more common than suicide itself and can be a warning for suicide.  Some people idealize suicide due to depression or other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and PTSD as well as medical chronic conditions and degenerative diseases. People who have suffered emotional abuse like bullying, or sexual, physical abuse are most likely to commit suicide if they do not talk about their hurts and often need professional help. It is vital to take  any commentary displayed by the person about suicide seriously.

Below are 7 signs from a person who is possibly idealizing suicide:

  1. Negative thoughts about self and future.
  2. Excessive sadness, moodiness and unexplained irritability.
  3. Hopelessness and  lack of interest in activities
  4. Change in behavior and adopting reckless behavior
  5. Isolation from family and friends
  6. Excessive use of alcohol, drugs or self- destructive behavior
  7. Looking on the internet suicide related themes

If you or someone you know have been experiencing any of those symptoms call 911 and look for help immediately. A mental health professional can help you to build a safety plan to manage the suicide thoughts and to decrease the risk behaviors. Symptoms of depression can improve with medication while talking to a mental health professional.  There are also vitamins that have helped with depression, as well.  Learn more about alternatives to mental health.

Author: Anna Vita, M.Sa Registerd Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando.  Total Life Counseling Center specializes in depression & anxiety and our experts can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

Edited by Jim West, MA, LMHC, NCC – President of Total Life Counseling Center