By Tracey Gruver,
The truth about #suicide? According to the #NationalAllianceonMentalIllness, #suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause for ages 35-54.
Many people do not want to know just how common #suicide has become; #NAMI says the #suicide rate in the #UnitedStates has increased 31% since 2001.
If this is true, why are more people not talking about and trying to prevent #suicide? Actually, many are working to prevent this tragedy and we need to get the word out.
#SeptemberisNationalSuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth. You can find information about #suicideprevention online at sites like nami.org and at the #SuicidePreventionResourceCenter at sprc.org.
For #parents or #teachers who want information specifically related to youth #suicideprevention, a great resource is “It’s OK to Ask.” At itsok2ask.com, there is information written specifically for teenagers about #suicide including what to do if they are concerned about a friend or what to do if they, themselves, are having suicidal thoughts.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
According to #NAMI, people should take notice if a friend or loved one starts to show warning signs that could indicate a #suicide attempt is coming; these can be things like increased alcohol or drug use, aggressive behavior, withdrawal from friends and loved ones, dramatic mood swings, and impulsive or reckless behavior.
I think everyone would agree that changes in behavior like these do make you worry about a loved one. However, I think that people often do not want to believe that their loved one could even be considering #suicide.
Kristen Martin, licensed clinical social worker and executive director of the nonprofit Thrive, says it is essential for people to know that the warning signs of #suicide are not always negative behaviors.
Martin says that sometimes right before a #suicide attempt, the person will finish a project they have been putting off for a long time, they might make amends with someone with whom they have had a long-standing rift or argument, or they may even make long-term plans for the care of their #children so that they will be taken care of in case something happens.
Many times, friends and family will see someone who has been battling #depression or #anxiety suddenly seem to come out of it and be very focused on these goals.
This often seems like a positive step in the right direction, but later the family realizes that the loved one was really just making preparations before they attempted #suicide.
Obviously, it is very difficult to predict if a person would attempt #suicide. I don’t think it is fair to expect anyone to be responsible for knowing that a friend or loved one is planning to try and harm themselves.
What you can do is listen to your loved ones and pay attention to what they need. If someone expresses to you that they are feeling suicidal, you should never ignore those feelings. Do not assume that they are not serious and try never to tell someone that you don’t believe them.
The best thing you can do if you know someone who is expressing these feelings or who is exhibiting some of the warning signs is to make sure that they have the contact information for crisis lines.
You can call the #NAMI helpline at 800-950-#NAMI, or in a crisis, you can text “#NAMI” to 741741. There is also the #SuicidePreventionLifeline at 1(800) 273-TALK.
#Teens can get help by texting “SAFELIGHT” to 20121, and #veterans can get help by calling 800-273-8255 and selecting option 1.
Finally, you can reach the Mobile Crisis Team at 888-573-1006.
Once you have provided your loved one with the contact information, check back in with them often to make sure that they are seeking help. Remind them that even in the midst of a #pandemic, it is possible to get #mentalhealthtreatment.
In fact, it’s never been a better time to seek the help of a #mentalhealthprofessional, because almost every provider now has the option of telehealth available. Most offer appointments over the phone or by video chat if you would prefer to see the face of the provider.
These options remove some of the barriers to treatment such as lack of transportation or lack of childcare options. Some people are able to have a #mentalhealth appointment while they are at work by just clocking out for a break and heading outside to have the session over the phone. This is a win for all of us in that service options have never been more flexible.
As we breeze through September and head into Fall, please remember the warning signs. Watch out for your loved ones. Check in with them.
Things have been hard this year for everyone, but some of us need extra attention right now. Do what you can to point your loved ones in the right direction so that they get the help they need before it’s too late.