September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
According to the latest data from the CDC, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. It’s also the second among individuals from 10 to 34 years old and the fourth among those from 35 to 44. Furthermore, it’s often the result of untreated mental health conditions. This makes it a subject of great concern among those of us who work in the treatment field. Creative Care would like to take this opportunity to share some warning signs of a higher risk for suicide. We would also like to offer some strategies to help those in need.
Some Warning Signs
Health and Historical Factors – Health issues, including mental health conditions, such as a terminal or painful chronic illness, depression, severe anxiety, and substance use disorders are all major risk factors of suicide. So, too, are previous suicide attempts, historical trauma, or a family history that includes mental illness or suicide.
High-Stress Life Events – Suicide attempts often take place after stressful occurrences like divorce or a painful breakup, the loss of employment, and the death of loved ones. These events also include the current pandemic and bullying or harassment, particularly against underrepresented groups. A 2016 study revealed that 17% of adults identifying as LGBTQ+ attempted suicide at some point in their life. Compare this with 2.4% of the general population.
Marked Changes in Behavior – This can include isolation, withdrawal, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and drastic changes in sleeping habits. These are all strong signs of depression. Additionally, a sudden calmness after an extended period of sadness, depression, or anxiety can indicate a person has made the decision to take their own life. Engagement in self-harmful activities like cutting, increased use of drugs or alcohol, or reckless driving is also behavior worth noting.
Preparations for or Threating Suicide – Unexpectedly drafting a will, giving away valuable and personal possessions, and making a point to say goodbye to friends and family are all examples of making preparations for suicide. And if someone threatens suicide, whether you believe them or not, it must be taken seriously.
How to Help
If someone close to you is displaying some of the behaviors above, have an honest and open conversation with them. Withhold judgment, lectures, or attempts to “fix” their problem and allow their voice to be heard. Let them know their life is important to you. Encourage them to seek professional help and follow up on their progress. If the person reveals that they’re thinking about suicide, ask them if they have a plan, means, and intention to carry it out. If so, call 911 or get the person to an emergency room for evaluation.
Innovative, Creative Care
Creative Care has been providing compassionate, innovative treatment since 1989. We nurture a sense of community in our program and believe in the inherent self-worth of each client. We have become the premier facility for individuals who need cutting-edge care with the extra support, understanding, and accountability to heal. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, please consider giving Creative Care a call and begin your journey to a new life today.