September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

It’s time we talk about this very serious matter of Suicide and learn ways to prevent it and to be aware of it. This isn’t a topic taken lightly and isn’t a topic to be joked about, Suicide is the real deal and we need to be aware of it. It’s the 10th leading cause of death.

Every year 44, 965 Americans die by suicide. That’s roughly 123 suicides per day. For every suicide, 25 people fail. It’s difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own life.

What leads to suicide?

There isn’t a single answer. Suicides often happen when stress and health issues collide and create the feeling of hopelessness and despair. Depression is most common associated with suicide, and is often untreated. When conditions such as depression, anxiety and substance problems increase risk of suicide.

What are the warning signs?

A suicidal person may have a change in behavior or presence that it entirely new. This is important if the new or different behavior is related to an event, loss, or even change. Many people who take their lives exhibit one or more of the warning signs.

TALK:

If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves.
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain.

BEHAVIOR:

If a person begins exhibiting these behaviors:

  • increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • looking for a way to end their lives, either writing about it or searching for methods online
  • withdrawing from their activities
  • isolating themselves from family and friends
  • sleeping too much or not enough
  • visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • giving away prized possessions
  • agression
  • fatigue

Mood:

People who are contemplating suicide display many of the following moods:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • loss of interest
  • irritability
  • humiliation
  • shame
  • agitation
  • anger
  • relief
  • sudden improvement

Common Misconceptions about Suicide:

Myth: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Fact: Mostly everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning.
Myth:Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
Fact: You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. By bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it, you can help prevent suicide.

 

PREVENTION:

If you see any warning signs in someone you care about. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable to bring up the topic, but ask anyways. You can’t make someone suicidal by showing you care. If you give them the opportunity to express their feelings, it can help them with their loneliness and negative feelings.

If someone you know is suicidal, be empathetic, and lend a listening ear. Let the person know that they are not alone and that you care. Don’t take the responsibility of making a person well, you can’t get better for a suicidal person, they have to make that commitment themselves. It takes courage to help someone who is suicidal.

 

TIPS FOR TALKING TO A SUICIDAL PERSON:

  • Be yourself. Let the person know that you care and they aren’t alone.
  • Listen. Let them vent. No matter how negative the conversation gets, the fact that they are talking is a positive.
  • Be sympathetic. Don’t judge. They are doing what they can do by talking to you.
  • Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and the feelings are temporary. Let them know their life is important to you.
  • Take them seriously. You aren’t putting thoughts in their head if you ask questions, you are showing that you are worried and that you take them seriously, that it’s okay for them to share their pain with you.
  • Don’t argue with them, act shocked, or promise confidentiality, a life is at stake. Don’t offer ways to fix their problems or blame yourself. You can’t fix someone.

Suicide is a serious issue and needs to be addressed and prevented. Mental Health is important. If a person is feeling depressed or anxious, get them help. Mental Health isn’t a myth and needs to be taken just as serious as any other disease. It isn’t a switch someone can turn on and off, depression and anxiety, any mental illness is a state of being. You can’t turn off your emotions like you can the lights in your house.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-2433) or 1-800-273-Talk (1-800-273-8255) or text HOME to 741741.

 

Please, don’t be afraid to call or ask for help.

Books about suicide or depression:

Coming Clean

This Song Will Save Your Life

I Was Here

How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing After Loss

Straight Talk about Teenage Suicide

 

 

 

 

Resources:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/suicide

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention.htm

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/