Suicide Prevention

Sedona Nelson

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Facts and Statistics

More teenagers and young adults die from suicide annually than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. Suicide is the 2nd largest cause of death for ages 10-24. Each day in our nation, there is an average of over 5,210 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12. On average, one person commits suicide every 162 minutes. 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.

Warning Signs

There are many warning signs of suicide, and it is very important to look out for these signs. It is very common for a person who is thinking about suicide to isolate themselves from family and friends. They quit communicating with people and are by themselves instead. They express hopelessness about the future, such as not having goals in life. Increased use of alcohol or drugs is also very common; people who are thinking about suicide might act recklessly and not care about their own safety.  Depression is a very common sign. About 2/3  of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their death. Many people suffer from depression, some more extreme than others. Giving away prized possessions is also a warning sign of suicide.

Risk Factors

There are many different risk factors for a person to start thinking about suicide. Depression is the most common, it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Childhood abuse is also a risk factor. Risk factors also include, lack of support, and a hostile social or school environment, such as being bullied. Other mental health problems that are untreated such as, bipolar, disorder, or anxiety, a recent loss (death or break up), prejudice, racial tension, discrimination are all major risk factors.

Prevention

There are many ways to try to prevent suicide. If you spot the warning signs, talk to the person about their suicidal thoughts and feelings. If you are unsure if they are thinking about suicide, just ask. There are many ways to start a conversation about suicide. You could tell them “I have been feeling concerned about you lately.” or “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.” When talking to a suicidal person, you should always be yourself, listen, be sympathetic, offer hope, and take the person seriously.  When talking to a suicidal person, you should not argue with the person, act shocked, offer ways to fix their problems, or blame yourself and you should not leave them alone.  If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, you should get professional help, such as a mental health professional, a treatment facility, or make a doctor’s appointment. You could encourage them to try a positive lifestyle such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun and nature. If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, you should remove potential means of suicide, for example, pills, knives, razors, and firearms.

If you are thinking about suicide there are crisis lines you can call, such as The National Hotline:  1-800-784-2433, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or txt4life: 61222. They are all available 24 hours, every day.

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