Suicide affects millions; over 800,000 people take their lives each year, and the number of people who attempt suicide is twenty five times that amount. In addition to the lives lost, suicide also affects the many friends and family members devastated by the loss of their loved one.
Suicide is largely preventable though. Through education and awareness, we can get those people who are contemplating suicide the help they need.
One of the best tools in preventing suicide is to know the risk factors. Over 90% of people who attempt suicide live with depression or another mental disorder. Alcohol or substance abuse is often a contributing factor. Adverse factions to traumatic events or stress can also lead to someone wanting to take their own life.Other risk factors for suicide include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
- Irritability or anger
- Talking about harming themselves
- Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
- Reckless behavior
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- A preoccupation with death
- Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
- Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me” or “I have nothing to live for”
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
These actions are a cry for help. It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time. Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal. Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately. Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.
Many organizations from around the world have joined together during the month of September, which has been designated Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Flushing Hospital’s supports their efforts and the hospital’s Department of Psychiatry offers many inpatient and outpatient services to help those in need.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.