Four in five people know that suicide is preventable. But do they know how? Suicide prevention starts with knowing the warning signs and then taking action to help.
September 9th through 15th is National Suicide Prevention Week and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, so we thought we’d join with the voices to prevent suicide and outline the warning signs of suicide and how to prevent suicide.
Since 1975, the National Suicide Prevention Week has brought people together to bring awareness to suicide, the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. The goal of National Suicide Prevention week is to raise awareness for the growing problem in our country and engage in discussion about mental illness, warning signs, and resources for someone struggling with thoughts of suicide. This year’s theme, “The Power of Connection”, emphasizes our ability to understand people, to love them, and to want to help them.
Suicide Prevention: The Warning Signs
It’s hard to tell when someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide, here’s what to watch out for according to the American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
- Talking about self harming or talking about having no purpose in life
- Extreme mood swings
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
- Feeling of hopeless
- Isolating themselves/withdrawing from activities
- Substance abuse
If you notice any of these signs in yourself, it’s important that you seek out the help of a mental health professional.
The Role of Therapy Suicide Prevention
There’s no one cause that determines if someone commits suicide, but an underlying mental illness can be a risk factor. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the nation and is present in at least half of all cases of suicide. If you or someone you know could be struggling with depression or another mental illness, it’s important that you seek the help of a therapist.
Mental health professionals are specially trained to handle someone who may be at risk for suicide or who may be already showing signs of suicidal ideation. “Suicidal ideation” is the term that’s used to mean that someone is thinking about suicide. Therapy is a crucial step in overcoming mental illness and getting rid of suicidal thoughts.
Suicide Prevention: How to Help
There are multiple ways you can help in the battle of suicide prevention. Maybe you’ll be the person who will drive a loved one who’s in crisis to the emergency room, or you’re sitting next to them as they call the suicide hotline phone number. Or maybe you’re volunteering for an event to increase awareness of suicide prevention.
Here’s a list of some things you can do to support in suicide prevention.
- If you feel that a person may be at immediate risk for suicide, call 911
- Share the number for the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with people you know or on social media: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Get involved in volunteer opportunities near you
- If someone you know seems more withdrawn than usual, reach out to them.
- Read/share stories of survival and hope here
Don’t be afraid to speak up and help someone who’s struggling. The power of connection will make a difference.