Next week is National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8th- September 14th, 2019). Saline Medical Specialties wants to remind everyone that we can all help prevent suicide. Anyone could be struggling with suicide, and together we can help change lives. We lose over 800,000 people per year to suicide and it is the leading cause of death for men under 50. Two of the leading factors that contribute to suicide is isolation and feeling like a burden.
There are also many myths and misunderstanding of suicide. For example, if someone is speaking up and letting you know that they are having suicidal thoughts, do not brush it off as attention-seeking behavior. It is a call for help. Having mental health issues is not a sign of weakness and we should try to stop the stigma around these conversations because they cost us lives.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, we recommend you contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you suspect a loved one may be suicidal, we recommend five action steps for communicating with them:
- Ask– Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you are open to speaking to them about suicide in a way that is supportive and non-judgmental. Help open the door to this dialogue.
- Keep them Safe– If you’ve determined that suicide is being considered, find ways to keep this person safe. For example, have they already done anything to harm themselves? Do they have a specific plan? What is their timeline? Do they have access to the method they have in mind? Based on their responses, and considering the risk to your own safety, you may need to involve the authorities or take them to an emergency department.
- Be There– This could mean being physically present, being available on the phone, and supporting them through this difficult time by listening. It also helps to create a network of support. Include two or three others who can also be there for that person.
- Help Them Connect– Continue to provide ongoing support. Connect them to local resources, such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Follow Up- After your initial contact, make sure to follow-up and check on them. Connect with them via phone, text, or in person. This will help you know whether to get them further or more intensive help.
For more information on local resources, feel free to reach any of the these numbers.