In some parts of the world, suicide among young women is frighteningly common. In the United States for example, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 25 years. Those most at risk include young women who suffer from a mental health disorder, those who have a family history of suicide and those who have attempted suicide in the past.

Warning signs that a person may be thinking of taking her life include the following.

  • Withdrawal from family and friends.
  • A change in eating and sleeping patterns.
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable.
  • A marked change in personality.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Talking about death or being preoccupied with subjects related to it.

One of the greatest mistakes a parent can do is ignore the warning signs. Nobody wants to think that something could be wrong with their child, so some parents go into denial. Some parents tell themselves, “it's a phase” or “it will pass” or “she always was a bit dramatic,” this is dangerous. All threats should be taken seriously.

Do not be ashamed to get help for your daughter, wife or friend if she suffers from severe depression or another mental disorder. If you suspect your loved one is thinking about ending it all, talk to her about it. You will find she will probably feel relieved when you bring up the subject. If she admits to having thoughts of suicide, find out if a plan has been devised and if so, how detailed it is. The more detailed the plan the more urgent you need to intervene. Do not assume that the depression will lift on its own. And if then it does seem to lift, do not think the problem is solved.

Some experts say that this is the most dangerous point. Why? It could be a woman who has been severely depressed may be too immobilized to act on suicidal feelings. When the depression lifts, the woman may have enough energy to go through with it. Be attentive to the sign and respond to them. Seek immediate medical assistance. Please note, experts warn that households with potentially lethal prescription medication or have loaded and accessible firearms are particularly at risk. Regarding the latter the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention notes: “Although most gun owners reportedly keep a firearm in their home for ‘protection’ or ‘self defense,’ 83 percent of gun-related deaths in these homes are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.”

Be considerate and empathetic in your assistance to this person.”