Help Us Prevent Suicide
Suicide deaths are tragedies yet they are also preventable. We hope you’ll join us this month, which is Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, as we work together to reduce the risk.
Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death nationwide. Among kids 10-14 and adults 25-34, it’s the second leading cause of death, and the third leading cause of deaths among those ages 15-24.
How Do We Help?
It’s easy to talk about a broken arm or an upcoming surgery, but talking about depression, anxiety and other root causes of suicide can be harder.
First, it’s important to know the warning signs:
- Expressions of hopelessness or feeling trapped
- Comments about feeling empty or having no reason to live
- Increase in drug and alcohol use
- Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Going through a current crisis or significant life change, such as divorce, job loss, legal issues or financial problems
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Missing school or work
- Expressing feelings of humiliation or shame
How to Get Started and Talk
Asking directly if someone is having thoughts of suicide, in a caring way can help provide hope, change the course of a life and prevent indescribable pain. You can simply ask: “Are you thinking about suicide?”
It’s a myth that asking this question will somehow plant a seed in someone’s mind. People may already have had the thought, yet research tells us that asking the question often provides relief by giving the person an open door to respond honestly.
Consider these tips:
- Be compassionate.
- Allow the individual to express themselves in full.
- Actively listen.
- Reaffirm that their concerns and pain are valid — and they are worthy of help and recovery.
- Be courageous and ask the question: “Are you thinking about suicide?”
If they say “yes,” be sure to take steps toward getting help. Safeguard the environment.
- Take firearms offsite to a trusted friend or family member. You can also call local police or a gun range for temporary storage.
- Remove access to other weapons and sharp objects like knives or razor blades.
- Store medications in a lock box or locked medicine cabinet.
- Keep alcohol and illegal drugs out of the home.
- Lock up pesticides or other poisonous household chemicals.
- Provide supervision or stay with a person who reports suicidal thoughts until receiving a mental health evaluation.
Create a plan for help – together. If you or someone you love is in danger of suicide or self-harm, you can go to your local emergency room. Or, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 and speak with a mental health professional 24/7.
During September, let’s remember that we need one another. We need to watch out for each other. And if we do that, through conversations and calls, we can give hope to the hopeless and light up the darkness.
For more information on our Behavioral Health Services, visit https://www.siouxcenterhealth.org/services/clinics/behavioral-health/ or call 712.722.8222