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Suicide Prevention Month

By: Tanaziona Lucious September has been designated as suicide prevention month. During this month, we advocate for people to learn and educate themselves on the important signs for prevention. It is the responsibility of society and the health care system to confront and reduce the stigma of mental health and death by suicide.

Suicide has always been a major public health concern. A study in 2020 found the suicide was the 12th leading cause of death in the United States.

Suicide is preventable, it is important to recognize the signs:

  • Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Doing risky things that can lead to death

  • Feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live

  • Feeling trapped or feeling that there is no solution

  • Giving away important possessions

  • Often thinking about death

Suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or suicidal actions are a sign of extreme hardship and should under no circumstance be ignored. Here are five steps that you can take in help someone you may know:

  1. Ask: it is not an easy question by asking “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” is a question that is clear and precise. Studies also found that asking an at-risk individual if they are suicidal does not increase the chance or thoughts of suicide.

  2. Keep the Safe: being sure to reduce a suicidal person’s ability to access lethal items or places is an extremely crucial step in suicide prevention.

  3. Be there: being a listening ear is extremely important. Listen to them carefully and learn as to why they are feeling the way they are. Studies found that acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce the likelihood of suicidal thought.

  4. Help them connect: Connect them to people who will help them, such as the prevention hotline, or help them form a connection with a trusted individual which would be anyone ranging from friend/ family member to spital advisor.

  5. Stay connected: After overcoming the crisis be sure to stay in touch. Studies have shown that the likelihood of suicide decreases often when someone follows up with an at-risk person.

  6. There is always help that is available to you or someone that you may know if you feel as though you are lost and have no direction. You can call or text 988 to speak to someone at the suicide and crisis lifeline, they are available 24 hours 7 days a week.

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