How to Survive Prison: Is Your Cellmate Crying Out for Help? Be Aware of Warning Signs
Hanging on to Life
Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from severe depression. For prisoners, that number is even higher—three times the national rate. Most people do not get the help and treatment that they need. This can be because of cost and insurance, unavailable treatment facilities, and the social stigma that surrounds mental health.
And too frequently people suffering from ill mental health end up in jail or prison.
BE AWARE OF WARNING SIGNS
Because mental health issues can affect people inside and outside of prison, we've included a few chapters on depression and suicide in the Prison Survival Guide. The following is an excerpt on how to discern that a cellmate is struggling:
Suicide crisis clinics note several verbal and nonverbal warning signs that may let you know that your cellmate or friend is crying for help.
Many of these warning signs are signs of depression. Depression does not necessarily mean a person is considering suicide, but many depressed people often think of suicide.
NONVERBAL WARNING SIGNS:
- Giving away personal or prized possessions.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Lack of interest in personal appearance.
- Lack of interest in friends.
- Lack of interest in activities that were formerly of interest.
- Boredom, restlessness, and loss of concentration.
VERBAL WARNING SIGNS:
- "No one cares about me."
- "Life isn't worthwhile.”"
- "People are better off without me."
- "Everything seems to be going wrong."
- "I don't need this anymore."
Please know that if a friend in prison does commit suicide, you are not responsible! No matter what steps you took to try to prevent it, no matter what "signs" you might have missed, the final choice—which is ultimately outside your control—always lies with the person.
GET HELP NOW
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, day or night.
If you would like someone to pray for you, you can submit prayer requests to Prison Fellowship staff through our website. You can also call our Customer Support team at 1-800-206-9764.