But today, things are going to get heavy.
Some people think suicide prevention is something to ‘leave to the professionals’, but today I wanted to empower you with tools for suicide prevention.
Because you’re on the frontlines. Chances are, either you have struggled with thoughts of suicide, or one of your loved ones has. And often, there are things you can do to help.
Here are the 5 Things You Need to Know About Suicide Prevention and Response:
#1. YOU NEED TO KNOW RISK FACTORS FOR SUICIDE
Do you have any of these Risk Factors? Do you know someone that does?
- Depression or Other Mental Illness
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse
- Past suicide attempts by self or family members
- Demographics: Men are more likely to complete suicide (they tend to use more lethal means than women). LGBTQ adolescents attempt suicide at a rate 3-6x that of heterosexual youth.
#2. YOU NEED TO KNOW WARNING SIGNS
Did you know that 50-75% of people who complete suicide give warnings of their intentions to a friend, pastor, teacher, or family member? Listen. Be present.
Other warning signs include:
- Intense feelings of shame and guilt.
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Unexpected rage or anger
- Withdrawing from work, school, or friends
- Sleep problems, lethargy
- Difficulty focusing
- Making a suicide plan: giving away precious possessions, and purchasing or gathering suicide weapons – e.g., gun, drugs/poisons/medications, suffocation tools.
#3. YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUICIDE PREVENTION
- Encourage them to get help. Therapy is not for ‘crazy’ people, it is simply a form of constructive support.
- Look for ‘outsiders’. Help them to access a supportive community.
- If you are concerned about an individual, tell the person that you are concerned. Give them an opportunity to be heard by you.
- If he/she is depressed, don’t be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide, or if they have a plan. Asking does not place individuals more at risk – you will not be ‘putting the idea in their head’.
- Let depressed individuals know that you care, that he/she is not alone, and that depression can be treated.
#4 YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL
- Do not leave a suicidal person alone to seek help.
- Eliminate access to anything that could be potential tools for suicide or self-harm, such as unsupervised access to medication, razors, or guns.
- Help the person seek immediate help from his or her Doctor, Therapist, the nearest hospital, or call 911.
- Depressed individuals are sometimes hesitant to seek help and may need your support to pursue treatment.
I am available for free in-person consultations about Therapy for individuals and families who struggled with Depression. If you only remember one thing from today’s blog post, I hope its this:
#5. YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES NEED TO KNOW THAT HEALING IS POSSIBLE. ASK FOR HELP.
Thank you for reading today. I hope you and your loved ones are better for it. If you or someone you love is in pain, click on the “Get in Contact” button below this post. I’m here to help.