“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
Suicide has many contributing factors. Therefore, prevention must consider many components: mental health, chronic physical illness, debt, unemployment, and lack of community. Since people considering suicide usually show signs (but not always), there are many opportunities for intervention. In the past twenty years, suicide rates in the United States have increased by 35 percent. Mental health care has been adjusted to accommodate the rise in mental illness, and there is a call to action to destigmatize mental health services.
Some warning signs of suicidal ideation include:
- Fixation on talking or writing about death.
- Phrases like: “I want to go out”, “It would be better if I was not here”, “I am worth nothing” or “I have no purpose”. “I am a burden to family members / friends / associates.”
- Isolation from friends and family.
- Dramatic mood swings. (American Psychiatric Association.)
- Staying present, remembering that you can’t control everything, and going out into nature are all ways to take care of your mental health. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
- If you are a friend or family member of someone who is considering suicide, ask direct but kind questions like, “How are you coping with what’s happening in your life?” or “Are you thinking of dying?” and seek the help of a professional (police officer, social worker, therapist, or 911 operator) as quickly as
possible. (Mayo Clinic.)
- Self-care is vital for caregivers of children, sick relatives, and those in the field of social services. Taking the time to focus on essential personal things like hobbies, friendships, and personal development builds resilience. (Center for Educational Development.)
- In 2018, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the US. with 48,000 deaths. (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Suicide of women is more common in rural areas than in urban areas with a rate 1.6 times higher. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- While women are more likely to harbor suicidal thoughts, men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide (Very Well Mind.)
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate help. They also have an online chat available: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
- The Crisis Hotline has crisis counselors to help you overcome strong feelings: text the word “HOME” to 741741.
- The National Alliance on Mental Health offers information and support to families and friends of those with depression. Check their website here.