Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Awareness day. Suicide takes the lives of over 44,000 people in the United States every year, according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control. Mental health is so important and there so many ways we can help prevent people of all ages from committing suicide. Even if you’ve never thought about harming yourself, most of us know someone who has and because of that we have to join forces to help reduce the suicide rate in the world.
- Know the warning signs of suicidal thoughts.
Pay attention to any changes in behavior in your friends or family. Is a friend suddenly staying in all the time and avoiding talking to anyone? Do they lose interest in some of their favorite things? Have they joked about suicide or being depressed? Is there a sudden change of mood or seeming anxious? These are all warning signs that something may be wrong and that it’s time to say something.
- If you’re worried about a friend or family member’s well being, ask them how they are and tell them you’re concerned.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Most people who need the help are scared to ask because they feel they might be judged or not taken seriously. Sit down with them and show your support for them. Ask them how they are feeling, tell them you care, and see what you can do to support them.
- If you or a friend/family member is seriously considering suicide, there are hotlines available 24/7 nationally and local as well.
The national hotline for suicide prevention is 1-800-273-TALK. These hotlines are there for you to get support and the help you need. They are free of charge and can give you referrals to treatment facilities in your area as well. These are trained, skilled professionals who want to listen to you and make sure you get the right treatment.
If you or a loved one ever contemplates suicide, there are resources available to help you. Make sure you know the warning signs, how to support them, and where to go for professional help. Supporting your friends always is helpful. Make sure they know you’re available to talk whenever they need it and really listen to them. Take the time to research online how you can help them. If it is a true emergency and you are worried they may act soon, call 911. You can prevent suicide or at least get them the help that they need.