Guest post by Jennifer Scott
Over a quarter million people lose a loved one to suicide every year in the United States, but this public health crisis rarely gets the attention it deserves. Here are some facts you need to know in order to understand this growing problem.
What to Do if You’re Feeling Suicidal
If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, reach out to a crisis hotline for someone to talk to. While suicide may seem like an option in this moment, it’s a decision you can never take back.
You can call a crisis hotline for yourself or if you’re worried about someone you know. And crisis hotlines aren’t only for moments when self-harm seems imminent; you can call a crisis hotline any time you need support.
Facts About Suicide in the U.S.
It’s easy to think that suicide could never affect you or your loved ones, but the reality is, suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Here are some numbers to know:
Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Prevention
There’s no denying that suicide is a major problem, but what can you do about it? Preventing suicide starts with recognizing the risk factors and warning signs that can lead to a suicide attempt.
If you notice these signs in yourself or someone you know, it’s critical that you take action. Ask these questions to find out if someone has the intention, plan, and means to carry out a suicide attempt.
While it may be uncomfortable, being direct is the best way to assess suicide risk without making the person feel stigmatized or as if they’re not being taken seriously.
If a person in crisis has both the intention and the means to commit suicide, call 911 immediately. Never leave a suicidal person alone.
If a person is thinking about suicide but doesn’t have a plan, emergency response may not be necessary. Instead, encourage the person to reach out to a crisis hotline for urgent support and find a mental health professional to provide ongoing treatment.
It’s possible to build a healthy, happy life after suicidal ideations, but it requires ongoing support, love, and compassion from family, friends, health care professionals, and oneself.
Image via Unsplash
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