World Suicide Prevention DaySeptember 9, 2021
If someone you care about is talking about suicide or showing suicidal tendencies, take their words and actions seriously. There are suicide prevention approaches you can use, to reach out to them to help them through their crisis and then to help them seek treatment for their mental health. Raising awareness of the issues and promoting action are the focuses of World Suicide Prevention Day.
World Suicide Prevention Day 2021
September 10 is designated as World Suicide Prevention Day across the world, as an opportunity to raise awareness and to promote action to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts. Reducing the stigma around mental health and suicide is also a critical part of the prevention efforts.
Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can be contributing factors. Someone you care about may feel as though they are a burden to their family, friends, or others in their lives. They may feel as though they are alone, even when you always try to be there for them, and that they have no other option for their life at this point.
You can offer the individual in your life hope through your action, letting them know that you care about them and want to support them. That can happen through a supervised mental health intervention, but you can also make a difference just by listening. You can create a sense of connection that can lead the one you care about to the hope and help they need.
Alarming Suicide Statistics
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides some startling statistics around suicide and mental health issues:
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
- More women than men attempt suicide, but men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide.
- 78% of the individuals who die by suicide are male.
- The overall suicide rate in the US has increased by 35% since 1999.
- While 46% of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experience symptoms of mental health issues.
When you are concerned about a friend or loved one, watch for the warning signs that they are struggling, including:
- Dramatic mood swings
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and community
- Impulsive, reckless, or aggressive behavior
- Increased alcohol and drug use.
In addition, watch for signs of suicidal behaviors, which are a psychiatric emergency:
- Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
- Giving away possessions
- Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
- Saying goodbye to friends and family.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
If someone you care about is in crisis or is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Reaching Out to a Loved One
Many people do not know what to do if they recognize the signs or if someone they care about starts talking about suicide. It’s critical to learn some approaches to suicide prevention that could help your friend or loved one through their crisis. Be prepared for unpredictable behavior on their part, that could change dramatically without warning. Do not take their actions personally but continue to talk and, most importantly, listen to them.
If at all possible, remove any available pills, guns, or knives from the situation. Express your support and concern. Don’t argue, raise your voice, or threaten them. Don’t argue about whether suicide is right or wrong. Most of all, be patient and show understanding, reassuring them of your concern for their well-being. Be sure they know they can talk to you about their struggles, without judgment. Try active listening techniques, such as reflecting their feelings and summarizing the thoughts they have expressed to you, so they feel validated.
STAGE AN EARLY MENTAL HEALTH INTERVENTION
When someone you love is struggling with a mental health issue and is talking about suicide, holding an intervention can be the best way to help them understand why and how to seek help. An early intervention can prevent many issues in their life, as they are encouraged to get treatment before it’s too late. If your loved one is struggling with mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact Whitman Recovery Service. With more than 30 years of experience, our team can help you stage an intervention with a positive outcome; we have a 98 percent success rate. We are available at (210) 291-0278.