September is National Suicide Prevention Month
The statistics for suicide in America are disturbingly high. It is tragic not only for the one whose life is cut short, but also for those loved ones left behind after a death.
On average, 750,000 people a year are directly impacted by the suicide of a loved one. For many, these effects continue for years, even a lifetime.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. To help raise awareness for mental health, Mercy Health Behavioral Health’s Dr. Laurie Ballew explains the warning signs and offers tips on what you can do to help.
“There’s no single cause for suicide,” Dr. Ballew said. “Conditions like depression, anxiety, substance problems, physical illness, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, losing a loved one, financial burdens, even physical illness can all increase the risk for suicide. The overriding symptom is hopelessness. People see no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Dr. Ballew says suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs.
Common suicide warning signs
- Talking about wanting to die or killing oneself
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling like there is no reason to live
- Being in unbearable pain
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Giving away possessions
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
Talking to a friend or family member about suicidal thoughts can be difficult. Dr. Ballew says giving the person a chance to express his or her feelings can provide some relief from their negative feelings.
“You could start the conversation with, ‘I have been worried about you lately and have noticed some changes in your behavior; you don’t seem like yourself lately,’” adds Dr. Ballew. “Let them open up about their day. Things can come out when you talk.”
Questions you can ask someone who may have suicidal thoughts
- When did you begin feeling like this?
- What happened that made you start feeling this way?
- How can I best support you right now?
- Have you thought about getting help?
We know that when a crisis hits, you don’t always have extra time to research or react. That’s why the Mercy Health behavioral health crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call (877)-219-2708 to receive help.