Recent statistics on suicide find that around 48,000 Americans die from suicide annually. Additionally, about 1.4 million Americans attempt suicide each year. While those numbers are staggering, mental health advocates and organizations can reduce the number of suicides each year with the right interventions.
The purpose of National Suicide Prevention Week is to spread the message that suicide is preventable. The week runs from September 6th to September 12th each year and includes World Suicide Prevention Day. In this article, we cover how you can support National Suicide Prevention Week. We detail how to identify when a person is at risk of suicide and how to offer support to the individual effectively. We also share how you can get involved in National Suicide Prevention Week online. In addition, we cover mental health programs that can provide an at-risk individual with the treatment they need to stay safe.
Learn about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide
One way to support National Suicide Prevention Week is by learning the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Learning about each topic can help you better identify when an at-risk person needs help, and when an at-risk individual gets the help they need, they have a lower risk of suicide.
While having risk factors of suicide does not determine that a person is at risk of suicide, they can help remind you to pay attention to a person’s behavior and needs. Risk factors of suicide include:
- Financial hardship.
- Knowing someone who died by suicide.
- A family history of suicide.
- Losing a spouse or job.
In addition to having risk factors of suicide, people may exhibit behaviors that can serve as warning signs for thoughts of suicide. These warning sign behaviors typically come as a surprise to the at-risk person’s family and friends and seem atypical. Warning signs of suicide include:
- The person starts engaging in dangerous behavior that may put their life at risk. This behavior can include substance abuse, unsafe sex, and driving under the influence.
- The person may pull back from social relationships and avoid social interaction. This isolation may also come with general apathy for activities and hobbies that the person previously enjoyed.
- The person may exhibit increased irritability, mood swings, and changes to eating or sleeping patterns.
While the above warning signs may indicate that a person is at risk of suicide, it is essential to note that everyone deals with life’s difficulties and challenges differently. Some people who are at risk of suicide may not show any obvious warning signs at all. Accordingly, it is important to remain mindful of the mental health of those around you, even if they appear to be fine on the outside.
Engage with people who are at risk
If someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you can take steps to help them. One useful resource for helping at-risk individuals is the #BeThe1To campaign from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The campaign lays out a blueprint of five steps for suicide prevention that you can use to offer at-risk individuals support. The five steps are:
- Be There
- Keep Them Safe
- Help Them Connect
- Follow Up
Another way to help at-risk individuals is by referring them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This method for engaging is suitable for when a person may feel uncomfortable or unable to discuss suicide with an at-risk individual. Anyone can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at +1 (800) 273-8255. When you connect with the lifeline, a trained professional can discuss your situation with you, provide support, and offer guidance on how to get help and remain safe.
Raise awareness with social media campaign for suicide prevention
For National Suicide Prevention Week 2020, many people are concerned about how to participate in the week while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Fortunately, it is easy to participate in National Suicide Prevention Week virtually through suicide-prevention social media campaigns. You can share suicide prevention content with your online followers, and this participation can help raise awareness of the importance of suicide prevention measures. Additionally, if an at-risk individual sees your content, your content can help remind the individual that help is available. An easy way to get started is by sharing ready-to-go suicide prevention graphics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
How Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital can help people at risk of suicide
At Aurora Santa Rosa hospital, we understand that providing mental health treatment to at-risk individuals is critical for suicide prevention efforts. When a person does not receive treatment for mental health conditions, the person’s mental health often worsens to the point where the person feels overwhelmed. In suicide cases, the individual wrongly believes that suicide is the only way to address their mental health challenges.
To help at-risk individuals get in control of their mental health, we offer several mental health treatment programs. We offer inpatient treatment programs for adults who need 24/7 support. We also provide intensive outpatient programs for adults who need clinical care while maintaining their home life. Additionally, we offer treatment programs for adolescents who struggle with their mental health.
To get started at Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital, contact our staff at (877) 717-0085. You can reach a member of our team at any time, and we can help answer any questions you may have.