September is Suicide Prevention Month, a designated time to raise awareness about a topic that is stigmatized and often avoided, though affects so many individuals, families, and communities worldwide. In this blog post, we will explore why this month is so important, the signs and symptoms of suicidal behavior, and discuss what to do when you are concerned about someone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Why Acknowledge Suicide Prevention Month?
Acknowledging Suicide Prevention Month is essential because it helps break the silence surrounding suicide. Stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help or discussing their difficulties with others. The month-long focus on suicide prevention creates an environment where people feel able to share their feelings and experiences without feeling judged. Suicide can be prevented, and September is an excellent time to discuss resources available to those experiencing suicidal thoughts; the resources that can save lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Suicide: What to Watch Out For
As we discuss these signs and symptoms, it is important to recognize that they may not always lead to suicide, or be associated with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Sometimes, individuals who are thinking about suicide may exhibit behavioral changes. They may turn to substances like alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their emotions, withdraw from their friends and family members, and avoid activities they used to enjoy. Additionally, they may give away their possessions. On an emotional level, someone struggling with suicidal thoughts may feel overwhelmingly sad, have mood swings, and present as irritable. Verbal signs may include talking openly about wanting to die or expressing feelings of being a burden to others. Sometimes, they may mention feeling completely hopeless or having no reason to continue living.
While these signs and symptoms are significant red flags, it's essential to approach the situation with empathy and care. Always encourage the individual to seek professional help and let them know that they are not alone in their struggle. Remember that professional intervention is the most effective way to address suicidal behavior and provide the necessary support and guidance.
What to Do If You Are Worried About Someone Concerned About Suicide
Supporting someone struggling with suicidal thoughts is not easy, but it is incredibly important. If you find yourself supporting a friend or loved one who struggles with suicidal thoughts, it can be helpful to encourage them to stay connected with their friends and family and to check in on them regularly.
If you have serious concerns, ask them directly about their feelings. Phrases like, "Are you thinking about suicide?" or "Have you thought about ending your life?" can provide a safe space for them to open up. You can then urge the person to seek professional help, offer to help them find a mental health professional, and accompany them to appointments if needed.
If you believe there is an immediate threat to their safety, do not leave them alone. Remove any potential means of harm, such as medications or weapons, and call emergency services or a crisis hotline. The following numbers and hotlines may be particularly helpful:
988- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
314-469-6644 - BHR, St. Louis
You can also accompany them to the local emergency room or call an ambulance.
Suicide Prevention Month is an essential time to focus on a critical issue that affects millions of lives. By acknowledging its importance, recognizing the signs and symptoms of suicide, and knowing how to help those in need, we can work together to prevent suicide and create a world where individuals receive the support and understanding they deserve.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for educational purposes only. It does not provide specific guidance on what to do in individual cases. If you are concerned that someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you should seek the advice of a professional. Always consult with mental health professionals or crisis intervention resources for the most appropriate steps to take when you are concerned about someone's well-being. The information provided here should not be considered a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The author and website disclaim any liability for actions taken or not taken based on the content of this blog post.