Suicide Prevention and Awareness: A Year-Round Effort
As October begins, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is technically over; however, that doesn’t mean we should stop talking about it. Suicidal thoughts, ideation, or even attempts, are things that many people experience, especially people that deal with mental illness.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that in 2020, there were an estimated 1.20 million suicide attempts and over 45,979 deaths due to those attempts. Sadly, these numbers are expected to keep rising.
Ultimately, we want to prove that prediction wrong. Chances are, you probably know someone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts or attempted to harm themselves somehow — even if you aren’t aware of it. Because of this, the more people are educated on suicide prevention strategies and understand their impact, the better.
What are the warning signs?
Knowing what to look for in friends, family, or other loved ones is key to suicide prevention. Here are some of the most common warning signs:
Seeming detached, distant, or disconnected from activities and support system
New or increased fascination with weapons
Neglecting mental health, physical health, or hygiene
Significant changes in sleeping or eating, including too much or too little of either
Extreme mood swings
Talking about feeling hopeless or questioning their will to live
If someone is frequently talking about harming themselves, wanting to die, or killing themselves, this means they could be at immediate risk. In these cases, you should reach out to a trusted source, crisis hotline, or call 988/911 immediately.
People with an existing mental health diagnosis like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more are more at risk of having suicidal thoughts. Veterans, adoptees, and the LGBTQIA+ community also have higher rates of suicide. Additionally, men usually have a higher rate of death resulting from suicide. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some people struggling with these thoughts and urges may not show warning signs.
Why is therapy necessary for suicide prevention?
For more reasons than one, going to therapy can help lessen suicidal thoughts and even prevent attempts. Talking to a nonjudgmental, unbiased source provides a person with a safe space to talk about things that are bothering them. Often, therapy addresses the reason or root cause behind the suicidal thoughts or urges – helping the person learn how to process and cope with the heavy emotions they are dealing with.
Some popular therapies that help suicidal thoughts are Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS), and Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). Mindfulness is another great tool to use.
Resources & How to Contact Someone
If you are having suicidal thoughts, it can be hard to open up about; it takes a lot of courage to admit it when you’re struggling. However, speaking up can be life-changing and life-saving.
Making an appointment with a mental health professional is the next step. The providers at Kentucky Services are here to help you through a tough time. No matter what you’re struggling with, there is a clinician that will be a listening ear. Schedule an appointment with one of our providers today to start your journey to better mental health.
For help in a crisis situation, you can call 988 or text HOME to 741741 for immediate help.