Learning the warning signs

Learning the warning signs
It can be very upsetting and distressful to hear someone talk about suicide. Knowing how to help and where to get help can ease these fears. Not everyone who has thoughts of suicide or talks about suicide actually attempts it, but most people who take their own life have expressed their intention. That is why it is important to take all talk or hints about suicide seriously. This is even truer if that person is depressed. It is not always possible to prevent a suicide, but knowing what to do could save a life. The best way to find out if someone is thinking about suicide is to ask. Asking will not give them the idea; in fact it could show them that someone really cares. Giving people the opportunity to talk about their feelings decreases the risk. If you believe someone is at imminent risk of suicide, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. There are many types of help and ways you can support someone who may be at risk. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) offers additional information on suicide warning signs and local crisis intervention resources on its website (www.tspn.org) The site also provides information on suicide prevention training programs that can teach anyone how to identify troubled and/or suicidal people and connect them with the resources they need ultimately saving lives. One way is to give the person the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800- 273-TALK), which will connect them to the nearest crisis center where support and other help is available. It could save a life. Suicide, More Common Then You Think Suicide is a major public health problem on national and state levels. Although suicide is the ninth-leading cause of death over-all in Tennessee, it is the second-leading cause of death within adults aged 25-34 and the third-leading cause among youth aged 15-24. In 2005, Tennessee’s rate of suicide per 100,000 was 14.4—the 13th highest in the nation and the highest of any state east of the Mississippi. Suicide occurs across all ethnic, racial, economic and social boundaries. Four times as many men die by suicide, but three times as many women attempt suicide. Suicide is the most preventable form of death: most suicidal people desperately want to live, they just can’t see a way out of their problems. Help them by giving them the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK). It will connect the person to a crisis center near them where a trained counselor can provide confidential help. It could save their lives. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) offers additional on suicide warning signs and local crisis intervention resources on its website (www.tspn.org) The site also provides information on suicide prevention training programs that can teach anyone how to identify troubled and/or suicidal people and connect them with the resources they need, ultimately saving lives. Suicide: Signs of Concern Most people who think about suicide don’t really want to die: they just want their pain to end. About 80 percent of the time, people who kill themselves have given definite signals or talked about suicide. This means that first of all, most suicides can be prevented, and second that all suicide threats or attempts must be taken seriously. Most people who consider suicide have a medical depression and have a sense of hopelessness. It is frequently precipitated by a great personal loss, such as the death of a loved one, a major move, or loss of health or jobs. Watch for signs of depression and current talk of suicide or making a plan, a previous attempt, a strong wish to die, giving away cherished objects or making final plans, and increased alcohol or drug use. You can prevent a suicide by learning to recognize the signs of concern and taking those signs seriously. There are many types of help and ways you can support someone who is risk. One way is to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK). It will connect the person to a crisis center near them where a trained counselor can provide confidential help. It could save their lives. Free suicide prevention awareness training is available in Tennessee through the Jason Foundation, Inc., which focuses youth suicide, and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN), which works to prevent suicide across the lifespan. Free information about youth suicide is available through the Jason Foundation website (www.jasonfoundation.com), information regarding suicide in Tennessee as a whole is available through TSPN’s website (www.tspn.org). The local crisis line operated by the staff at Pathways is 1-800-372-0693.

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