Take action for Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and a good time to familiarize yourself with the tools, resources and steps you can take in addressing suicide.
Suicide can be prevented if the signs are detected and the right actions are taken. Healthy coping skills are critical for dealing with incidents of trauma throughout life. Unfortunately, some people find that life stressors are too difficult and some choose negative ways to cope. The most critical warning signs of suicide are:
Talking about wanting to die or about suicide
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Looking for ways to kill oneself
If someone you know is displaying these signs, take action and follow these steps:
Step one: Ask. Ask the person directly if he or she is thinking about suicide. “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting different and I’m really concerned. Are you thinking about suicide?”
Step two: Listen. Hear the person’s story. Listen and offer support without judgment. “It sounds like you are going through a lot. I’m so sorry. How can I support you?”
Step three: Connect. Connect the person to resources. “I want to make sure you stay safe. Can we call someone so that we can keep you safe?”
Certain protective factors can help reduce the risk of suicide, including:
Effective behavioral health care
Connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions
Life skills such as problem solving and coping
Self-esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life
Cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide.
I invite all community members to join the local movement in raising awareness of suicide prevention at Emily’s Walk for Hope on Saturday, Sept. 8 in South Lake Tahoe at Lakeview Commons from 10 a.m. – noon. Learn more about this event and local resources at spnawareness.org.
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