This September, we’ve been talking about #SuicidePrevention.
And for good reason.
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10-14.
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 25-34.
- Suicide was the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15-24.
- There were twice as many suicides as homicides in our nation.
No, you didn’t read the ages wrong.
Learn more about Suicide Prevention according to the CDC here. Or keep reading for simple tips to make a big difference.
What can we all do to prevent suicide?
If someone in your life is struggling emotionally, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides five steps to take: ask, be there, keep them safe, help them connect and follow up.
We took a deeper dive into two of the steps here:
The first step to take when somebody you know is in emotional pain is to ask them directly: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
Asking communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way.
Be ready to listen. Help them focus on their reasons for living and avoid trying to impose your reasons for them to stay alive.
Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them about it in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.
#Bethe1To Keep Them Safe
The myth “If someone really wants to kill themselves, they’ll find a way to do it” often does not hold true if appropriate safety measures are put into place.
It’s important that everyone’s on the same page. Find out the answers to some questions:
- Have they already done anything to try to kill themselves before talking with you?
- Does the person experiencing thoughts of suicide know how they would kill themselves?
- Do they have a specific, detailed plan?
- What’s the timing for their plan?
- What sort of access do they have to their planned method?
Show support for someone during the times when they have thoughts of suicide by putting time and distance between the person and their chosen method.
This is the third step to take.
Again, you can read all five of the steps and learn why they work. You just might save a life with this 5-minute read.
How can I tell if someone is struggling?
Not sure how to tell if someone is struggling emotionally? The best way to know is to ask. However, it may also be helpful to know some risk factors for suicide.
Some of these factors, named by the CDC, which may be recognizable to you, include:
- History of depression and other mental illnesses
- Substance abuse
- High conflict or violent relationships
- Sense of isolation and lack of social support
- Family/loved one’s history of suicide
- Financial and work stress
- Inadequate community connectedness
- Barriers to healthcare
Learn more about risk factors for suicide and prevention practices in these resources from the CDC:
“Like most public health problems, suicide is preventable… Just as suicide is not caused by a single factor, research suggests that reductions in suicide will not be prevented by any single strategy or approach. Rather, suicide prevention is best achieved by a focus across the individual, relationship, family, community, and societal-levels and across all sectors, private and public.”
As an individual, know what you can do, and let others know, too.
Let’s change the conversation from suicide to #suicideprevention.