Suicide is preventable: Three lifesaving steps
September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Thoughts of suicide can be difficult to talk about. But speaking up—for yourself or a loved one—could be a lifesaver.
Suicide claims the lives of more than 47,000 Americans per year. It’s a serious public health problem and affects people of all ages. Friends, family, and colleagues may be suffering.
Suicide can be prevented if the signs are detected and the right actions are taken. Use these three steps to look out for one another, and prevent suicide.
Know the Signs
Pain isn’t always obvious, but feeling isolated, anxious, or agitated can increase your risk for suicidal thoughts. Other signs that it’s time to get help include:
● Believing there’s no reason to live or that you’re a burden to others
● Looking for a suicide method
● Increasing alcohol or drug use
● Withdrawing from others
● Acting reckless
● Having bouts of rage or extreme mood swings
Find the Words
If someone you know is displaying these signs, take action and follow these steps:
● Step one: Ask. Ask the person directly if they are thinking about suicide. “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting differently and I’m really concerned. Are you thinking about suicide?”
● Step two: Listen. Hear the person’s story. Offer support without judgment. “It sounds like you’re going through a lot. I am 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 we can keep you safe?”
Reach out for Help
If you or a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, help is available.
● Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
● Call 911, or visit an emergency department
● Call the El Dorado County Mental Health crisis line: 530.544.2219
Visit BartonHealth.org/MentalHealth for additional area resources.
Aubrey Demajh, MD is a board-certified adult psychiatrist with Barton Psychiatry & Mental Health. A free Wellness Webinar, “High Risk Groups for Suicide” will be provided by Paloma Sanchez, LCSW on Thursday, September 14 at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Register in advance, or view previously recorded webinars at BartonHealth.org/Lecture.
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