We want to help people when they are hurting. We want to be there for them and let them know we care. September has an important focus on preventing suicide. We can learn how to help those who are in so much pain that they want to end their lives.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with one suicide occurring on average every 11.9 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds.
There are actions we can take to help someone when we think someone wants to end his or her life. Talking about suicide will not put the idea into his or her head. Instead, the person may feel relief that they can finally share and talk about it. Saying things out loud may help the person hear it for the first time. It may help them bring a new look to the problem.
• ASK THE QUESTION
*“I have the feeling you are thinking about suicide but are having trouble bringing it up.”
* “Are you thinking about suicide?”
* “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
* “Sometimes people in certain situations feel suicidal. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?”
* Listen and Look for warning signs/risk factors.
* Ask what is causing the distress.
• ASK ABOUT REASONS FOR LIVING AND PLANS FOR SUICIDE
*Find out what is important to the person and why they may choose to live.
* “Do you have a plan to kill yourself?”
*Ask How, Where, When, and if they have the means in place (Do they have a gun/ pills/ rope or whatever they plan to use?)
• TAKE ACTION
* Remove means, like guns and pills. Check with your local police to see if they can keep the gun there.
*Offer your support in getting help from a professional.
* Don't leave the person alone once you have learned he or she is at risk.
* Remind the person that seeking help for depression isn't a sign of weakness. Let him know that the chances for getting better are excellent.
Adapted from: NE State Suicide Prevention Coalition http://www.suicideprevention.nebraska.edu/whensomeoneissuicidal.htm and American Association of Suicidology http://www.suicidology.org/
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or go to your local emergency room.
National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 10 through 16. This year’s theme is “Take a Minute, Save a Life.” Share the message of hope.
Seward County has a Suicide Prevention Coalition. New members are welcome. The focus is on prevention, awareness, education, and help to those who have had a loss due to suicide.
For more information on this topic, call Four Corners Health Department @ 877-337-3573. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be ready to listen and to offer hope.