September 6th-12th is National Suicide Prevention Week. To honor this, we would like to educate you on the complexity of suicide and empower you by giving you simple ways to help someone who may be experiencing emotional pain.
If you or someone you know is in a critical state regarding suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Family and friends are usually the first ones to recognize warning signs of suicide. The most common misconception surrounding suicide is that people who have suicidal thoughts are only those diagnosed with mental health issues. However, suicide does not have a single cause, it’s a complex behavior that can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or age.
Recent statistics show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., a staggering statistic that has an immeasurable and far-reaching impact.
When it comes to raising awareness about suicide and helping to support and protect loved ones in need, it all starts with compassion, empathy and understanding. While the warning signs of suicide aren’t always obvious or universal, there are several general behaviors you can look for that may indicate an individual is experiencing suicidal thoughts. These include:
- Talking about feelings of emptiness or having no reason to live
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Excessively using drugs and/or alcohol
- Acting anxious, agitated, or behaving recklessly
- Undergoing extreme mood swings
If you recognize behaviors such as these, do not downplay or ignore them. Suicidal thoughts or actions are serious and require urgent medical attention. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a helpful guide to follow:
Five Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain
- Ask – If you are worried about someone, ask them directly if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or thinking about hurting themselves. This is not an easy question to ask. Studies have proven that opening the conversation in a caring way gives the at-risk person relief and ultimately can lead them to recovery.
- Be There – Individuals are less likely to feel suicidal if they know someone is intently caring for them. Listen to the person without judgement. No one should feel alone, so make sure your loved ones know you are there for them.
- Keep Them Safe – Removing harmful items that your loved one has access to will protect them and reduce the likelihood of suicidal behavior.
- Help Them Connect – Assist your loved one in creating a network of resources, including close friends, family and healthcare professionals. At NGHS, we have a comprehensive Behavioral Health Program that offers personalized services, care from trusted and knowledgeable experts, and a variety of community resources. To find the right fit for you and your behavioral health needs, visit nghs.com/mentalhealth. For emergent situations, keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number readily available for them (1-800-273-8255), as well as the Crisis Text Line (741741) for immediate, 24/7 care in an emergency.
- Reach out – Showing your support and love for someone you care about isn’t a onetime thing- it’s ongoing. Whether it’s with a text, a phone call or on social media, routinely reaching out and staying in touch is important. Taking the time and making the effort to keep in touch with friends and family is important.,. When you take the time and make the effort to check-in with those you care about, it speaks volumes about how much you care. It may even have a bigger impact than you realize.
Coming Together For Your Mental Wellness
Wherever you are on your behavioral health journey, NGHS is here to help. With a comprehensive network of services and resources, our experts will help to provide compassionate, whole-person care. While it takes a lot of courage to face your mental health needs, you don’t have to do it alone. Take the next step by visiting nghs.com/mentalhealth