Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14, 2019
Suicide Prevention Week
Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14, 2019. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides the following information on its website www.nami.org about suicide prevention.
Know the Warning Signs
- Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like "I wish I wasn't here" but can become more overt and dangerous
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Aggressive behavior
- Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
- Dramatic mood swings
- Talking, writing or thinking about death
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
Is There Imminent Danger?
Any person exhibiting these behaviors should get care immediately:
- Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Mood shifts from despair to calm
- Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to complete suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication
If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess risk.
Risk Factors for Suicide
Research has found that more than half of people (54% ) who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. A number of other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:
- A family history of suicide
- Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
- Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
- Access to firearms
- A serious or chronic medical illness
- Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
- A history of trauma or abuse
- Prolonged stress
- Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
- A recent tragedy or loss
- Agitation and sleep deprivation
Can Thoughts of Suicide be Prevented?
Mental health professionals are trained to help a person understand their feelings and can improve mental wellness and resiliency. Depending on their training, they can provide effective ways to help.
Psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can help a person with thoughts of suicide recognize unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior, validate troubling feelings, and learn coping skills.
Medication can be used if necessary to treat underlying depression and anxiety and can lower a person's risk of hurting themselves. Depending on the person's mental health diagnosis, other medications can be used to alleviate symptoms.
The Sussex County Campaign to Change Direction would like to remind you to pay attention to the five signs of emotional suffering and remember that there can be no health without mental health. For more information about this campaign see the Sussex County Change Direction page or www.changedirection.org .