Suicide’s back as a topic of everyday conversation. It’s a result of the recent deaths of Fashion Designer Kate Spade and Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain along with a new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Report on rising suicide rates.
According to the new study suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for those age 10-34. So it’s important to know what to do if you think a friend or family member may be at risk. It’s also important to know some facts if you personally are at risk. It’s about staying safe through a tough time and finding help.
Here are some excerpts from an article released by NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) called “Suicide: You Can Make a Difference.”
5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain
- Ask:“Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
- Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal meanscan make a difference.
- Be there:Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
- Help them connect:Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there if you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
- Stay Connected:Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
Suicide is Complicated
There is no single cause of suicide, it is linked to mental health conditions and stressful life experiences. It’s important to reach out and talk honestly with anyone going through a difficult time.
Many stressful situations contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. Some of the most significant contributing factors include:
- Relationship problems
- A crisis that occurred in the past two weeks or that is expected in the next two weeks
- Substance use problems
- Physical health problems
- Job or financial problems
- Criminal or legal problems
- Loss of housing
The Warning Signs
These are the most common signs that someone is in emotional distress. If you are concerned, take the 5 Action Steps listed above.
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means (e.g., a firearm or pills)
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
Remember, the most important thing is for you to help someone who’s at risk get help. Or find help for yourself. And don’t forget – we’re here for you. Reach out to us if you need someone to talk with or get professional help in how to handle the pain.