In honor of Mental Health Awareness, I would like to discuss an extremely important topic to me. Suicide and Suicide Prevention.
The CDC reports that about half, 54 percent, of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. However, many of them may have been dealing with mental health challenges that had not been diagnosed or known to those around them. As the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death (after accidents) for people aged 10 to 34, suicide is a serious public health problem. That’s about 123 individuals each day. And for every death there are 25 attempts. Men are more than three times more likely than women to take their lives. Firearms are the most common method of suicide (used in about half of all suicides). Yet, suicide is preventable. Knowing the risk factors and recognizing the warning signs for suicide can help prevent suicide. Most times, there are warning signs that someone is considering ending their life. They may have been struggling with depression, talking about just ending it all, saying they are done, not wanting to be involved in activities like they used to be, using drugs and alcohol, talking about feeling trapped, feeling there’s no point in life, or complaining of feeling hopeless.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Often talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless things
Expressions of having no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life; saying things Like, "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out."
Increased alcohol and/or drug misuse
Withdrawal from friends, family and community
Reckless behavior or more risky activities, seemingly without thinking
Dramatic mood changes
Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others
How can we help?
If someone says he or she is thinking of suicide or behaves in a way that makes you think the person may be suicidal, don't play it down or ignore the situation. Many people who kill themselves have expressed the intention at some point. You may worry that you're overreacting, but the safety of your friend or loved one is most important. Don't worry about straining your relationship when someone's life is at stake. You're not responsible for preventing someone from taking his or her own life — but your intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get treatment. If someone indicates they are considering suicide, listen and take their concerns seriously. Don't be afraid to ask questions about their plans. Let them know you care, and they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help immediately from a knowledgeable professional. Don't leave them alone.
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Author: Dana Papania, MFT-I, M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy
In honor of Mental Health Awareness, Depression and Thoughts of Suicide https://findyourwords.org/depression-help/suicidal-thoughts/
Suicide and Mental Health America