Friday, June 8, 2018
(WRDW/WAGT) – Mental health and depression are serious issues that affect people across the nation, and suicide rates have skyrocketed by 25% over the past two decades.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been in service since 2005. Volunteers and professionals alike provide free and confidential support for people in suicidal crisis, or who just need someone to talk to about a rough time in their lives.
The Lifeline is open to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the U.S.
1 (800) 273-8255
Another option nationally is the Crisis Text Hotline. This is available to those individuals who don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone and prefer to send a text message for help.
Text HOME to 741741
The American Federation for Suicide Prevention has a list of warning signs to be on the lookout for that could hint at suicidal behavior.
Those signs include three aspects – talk, behavior and mood.
If a person talks about:
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
Behaviors that might signal risk:
- Increased use of alcohol and drugs
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family, friends
- Sleeping too much or too little, increased fatigue
- Giving away prized possessions
People considering suicide often display one or more of these:
- Loss of interest
- Humiliation, shame
- Relief or sudden improvement
If someone you know has already attempted to end their life, mental health professionals urge you to be as present as possible and to be with them as much as you can. Face to face is said to be the best way of doing this, whether it’s a video chat or in person.
The National Institute of Mental Health offers five action steps for helping someone in pain or at risk of ending their life.
1. Ask: It may not be easy, but simply asking “are you thinking about killing yourself” could save a life. Studies show this does not increase suicidal thoughts.
2. Keep them safe: Reduce their access to harmful materials.
3. Be there: Always be sure to listen carefully and intently to hear what the person is thinking and feeling.
1. Help them connect: Give the person access to the Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number (listed in the beginning of this article). You can also help them get in touch with a doctor or family member.
1. Stay connected: It’s important to stay in touch after helping someone, or after they are discharged from care. This could reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts resurfacing.
Mental health remains an issue in the United States, and part of the responsibility falls on loved ones to keep people from harming themselves.
Any of the organizations listed within this article are available for more information.