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Suicide Prevention: Do you know the signs?

March 9, 2017

As we wrap up Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect, remember and talk more in depth about awareness and prevention. While keeping a loved one from committing suicide is not 100% preventable, there are detectable signs for which you can start and keep the conversation going with them. 

Below are the risk factors to look for and the available resources to help make a difference. 

SUICIDE AWARENESS

These are some of the factors that may contribute the act of suicide: 

  • Depression
  • Recent, significant loss (i.e. death of a loved one, divorce, separation, relationship break-up or moving)
  • Threats or comments about killing themselves including talking, writing or thinking about death
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse – According to NAMI, 1 in 3 individuals who die from suicide are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Gender – According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Men are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women
  • Age – The highest suicide rate in the US are individuals 85 years and older 
  • Aggressive behavior
  • History of trauma, abuse or neglect
  • Social isolation – withdrawing from family, friends and the community
  • Family history of suicide
  • Access to firearms – which account for roughly 50% of all suicides

 

It is important to note that you cannot make someone suicidal by talking about  it, but you can make them aware they may have a problem and ways to seek to support and help. Talking about the problem can often clear the way to a solution. Suicide prevention and awareness work hand-in-hand and are the key to stopping suicide.

 

SUICIDE PREVENTION 

According to the Centers for Disease and Control, more than 42,000 individuals die from suicide annually – leaving behind their friends and family to navigate the tragedy of their loss. Here are some ways you help prevent suicide: 

OBTAIN HELP IMMEDIATELY

If you witness the following behaviors, get your loved one to a mental health care professional or facility immediately: 

  1. They start putting their affairs in order by giving and give away their possessions
  2. Saying goodbye to family and friends
  3. Talking about wanting to kill themselves or expressing feelings of hopelessness
  4. Buying, borrowing or stealing the tools they need to commit suicide (i.e. firearm, prescription drugs)

 

IF THE THREAT IS IMMINENT

  1. Call the crisis helpline at 330.296.3555 or 330.678.4357 24 hours, 7 days a week if you or a loved one is in crisis and needs to talk to a professional about thoughts of suicide. 
  2. If you find someone in the act of suicide, call 9-1-1 immediately. 
  3. Schedule regular sessions with a mental health professional who is trained to help you or a loved one  understand and validate their feelings and learn healthy, coping skills. 
  4.  

MH&RB OF PORTAGE COUNTY IS HERE TO HELP

If you or someone you love is at risk for suicide, visit our website about ways to increase your own suicide prevention and awarenessquotient. Remember your voice matters and you can intervene. 

If your loved one has died from suicide, please join our free Grief Recovery after Suicide support group on the last Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8 PM at our office. For more information about this group, please contact Dr. Mowrey at 330.673.1756 x203.

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