Suicide [1]

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out! You can:

 

Call 9-1-1 if you need help right away.

Call the Mid-Columbia Center for Living 24-hour Crisis Line at
1-888-877-9147. Mental health professionals run the crisis line and can talk you through the situation you are going through and/or help you make an appointment.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone, free of cost. All calls are confidential. You can also chat online at Lifeline Chat

More than 120 people die by suicide every day in America. It is the tenth leading cause of death overall in the country but the second leading cause of death for people 10-34 years old. The effects of this are felt through our whole community.

As a community, what can we do to prevent suicides?

Know the Signs [2]:

Someone might be at risk for suicide if they are showing these behaviors:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

  • Planning or looking for a way to kill themselves
    (like searching online, collecting pills, or buying a weapon)

  • Talking about feeling a lot of guilt or shame

  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling like there are no answers

  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Using alcohol or drugs more often

  • Acting anxious or agitated

  • Pulling away from family and friends

  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits

  • Showing intense anger or talking about getting revenge

  • Doing risky things that could lead to death, like driving extremely fast

  • Talking or thinking about death often

  • Having extreme mood swings – like changing quickly from very sad to very calm/happy

  • Giving away important belongings

  • Telling friends and family goodbye

  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

Suicidal thoughts and planning or attempting a suicide are not signs of someone being dramatic.

These actions show that someone is feeling extreme distress.

 

We should respond with support and try to connect them to the help they need.

Video Source: Mayo Clinic. "Teen Suicide Prevention." 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BByqa7bhto.

Ways to Give Support [3]:

Get involved. Be available. Show interest and support.
Be aware. Learn the warning signs of suicide.

Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.

Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.

Be willing to listen. Let the person express their feelings.

Be nonjudgmental. Don't debate if suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture.

Offer hope that there are other options.

Don't ask "why?" This can make the person feel defensive.

Don't act shocked. This can distance the person.

Don't promise to keep it a secret. Look for help from people or agencies that specialize in suicide prevention.

Don't just offer shallow reassurances like "it's going to be ok" - it may seem like you don't understand.

Don't give advice or tell the person how to act differently.

Don't tell the person they are overreacting or being dramatic

Video Sources: To Write Love on Her Arms. "World Suicide Prevention Day." 2017 & 2018.

Practice Healthy Coping [4]:

Every person experiences stress at some time. Learning and practicing healthy ways of coping with stress is one way to prevent suicide and relieve stress before it becomes too much to bear. Some ways to manage stress are:

  • Eat healthy meals

  • Exercise – walk, dance, play – often

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Take breaks when you feel stressed

  • Stay connected with friends and family instead of pushing away

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol which can cause more problems that increase stress

  • Try to step back from things in your life causing stress if you can

  • Think about asking for professional help – it is not weak or shameful to get help!

 

Sources:

[1] National Institute of Mental Health. “Suicide.” 2018. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml.

[2] National Institute of Mental Health. “Suicide Prevention.” 2018. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml.

[3] Psychalive. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Suicide Prevention.” 2012. https://www.psychalive.org/the-dos-and-donts-of-suicide-prevention/.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Coping With Stress.” 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html

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