This week is national suicide prevention week. During this week, we remember those who felt alone and isolated to a point where life was no longer an option. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2017) “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States” (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017, Suicide Statistics). This means that the number of completed suicides every year averages about 44,000 people, which is conducive to correct reporting 100% of the time (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017). Today’s society is very focused on suicide prevention but the American culture is simultaneously pushing independence which can isolate a lot of people.
The stigma of suicide alone makes most people uncomfortable because they are unsure what to say to people who are experiencing suicidal ideations. Erasing the stigma that comes with suicide is the first step. Starting a conversation about what the signs are is step two, which allows the outsider a glimpse of what the person may be struggling with. While we certainly will not understand their situation, we can allow ourselves to be empathetic as we try to address their needs.
Suicide entails many avenues ranging from mental, emotional, physical, and or relational aspects. We cannot assume that the problem is as simple as changing the circumstance or changing the people in their life. Those who suffer from suicidal ideations may have underlying matters that take more time. While most people will not be able to address psychological needs, there is always room to be a listening ear. To sit with those struggling and have empathy for the situation they are in; whether you agree or not. It’s important also to understand that asking direct questions such as “Are you considering suicide?” is okay to do. A clear picture of what their plan may be is vital in getting them the right help. Asking questions like this may also allow that person a way out of their situation without having to ask directly. We encourage you to join us in our study of preventative measures for suicide by learning when to step in and understanding what common signs may look like.
Below are a few of the signs that may be associated with suicide:
- Withdrawal or isolation
- Increase of drugs and or alcohol
- Talking about being a burden
- Talking about being hopeless or not wanted
- Talking through options of suicide methods
- Displays of mood swings unusual to the character of the person
- Agitated or reckless behavior
You may be wondering why is a pregnancy center concerned about suicide? The Pregnancy Resource Center is concerned about the whole person, pregnant or not. Being mentally well is an important part of life because your mental capacity plays a role in everything you do. By starting the conversation about suicide prevention our center plays a small role in getting our community involved in prevention and assessment methods.
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of suicide call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. This organization is trained to help in crisis situations and to get help for those suffering in silence. Be a friend, take the time to learn more information on suicide. It could save a life.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2017). Suicide Statistics-AFSP.