CHS Blog

National Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention Week
Posted on September 7, 2017 by CHS

September 10 through the 16 is National Suicide Prevention Week, a week long campaign to spread awareness of suicide prevention and the warning signs to look for, remember the people that lost their life to suicide, and support those that have survived a suicide attempt.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professional. The number can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-273-8255.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), “there’s no single cause of suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.” Mental disorders like depression are often undetected and increase the risk of suicide when left untreated. AFSP also notes “that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.”

As a society, we can learn to recognize suicide warning signs and risk factors in order to help our family, friends, or even strangers and end up saving a life. When you believe that an individual is in immediate danger, call 911 right away. Never leave a potentially suicidal person alone. Stay with them until help arrives, or take them to a local hospital yourself.

Here are some common warning signs that someone may be suicidal. These were provided by Beyondblue.

  • Isolation or feeling alone
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Possessing lethal means
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Drastic changes in mood and behavior
  • Frequently talking about death
  • Self-harm like cutting behaviors
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Making funeral arrangements
  • Giving things away
  • Substance abuse
  • Making suicide threats
  • Negative view of self
  • A sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future

Once you recognize that an individual is potentially suicidal, here are some tips to help you prevent a suicide attempt that are recommended by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

  • Don’t Discount Their Feelings
    You may think the problem the individual is facing isn’t serious enough to commit suicide, but the individual may believe it is. You can’t fully understand what they are going through. Listen to what they are saying about their problem without giving criticism.
  • Look at Suicide as a Cry for Help
    When an individual attempts suicide, it doesn’t mean they want to die. It means they are in so much emotional pain that they believe suicide is the only way to escape their problem. If they are still alive, they are desperately looking for an alternative to death, and the suicide attempt is their way of crying out for help.
  • Encourage Them to Get Help for Their Depression
    Getting the help of a professional may be the biggest step to take for suicide prevention. You don’t know how long the individual has been feeling suicidal and encouraging them to get help for depression can go a long way.
  • Be a Good Listener
    Take some time and talk with the individual that is feeling suicidal. You don’t need to ask questions as if it is an interview, just sit with them and listen to what they have to say. This process can help the individual relieve the built-up pressure that led to suicidal thoughts. Be patient and don’t try to argue or fix things, just show that you care about them.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Their Suicidal Feelings
    You may be concerned that if you talk about suicide it will make them more likely to try it, but it doesn’t. When you are able to talk about suicide it means that you care. Bringing it up will give them an opportunity to tell you about their struggles and allow you the opportunity to give some assistance.
  • Encourage Them to See a Mental Health Professional
    It can be difficult and take a long time, but encourage the individual to see a mental health professional. Keep in daily contact and encourage them to follow through with their appointments. People in distress will often try to back out of therapy without finishing the recovery process.
  • Know That Secrets Can Kill
    Once the individual has told you about being suicidal, they might try to make you promise not to tell anyone. While keeping a promise is important, understand that you might have to break it in order to save that person’s life. Having that person alive and angry with you for telling their secret is much better than having them take their own life.

Teenagers have a different mentality than adults. They might experience suicidal feelings because of mental health issues, or they could be motivated by other reasons such as stress at school, cyber bullying, a lack of self-worth, or various other factors. If you are concerned that your own teenager, or another teenager you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, read about the Ten Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Suicide to learn about how you can help them.

Below are additional resources for more tips and ideas on how to prevent suicide.

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