Recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Health, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. A time to help raise awareness and educate those around us about how we can help those who may be struggling. A recent study showed that suicide occurs every 16 minutes. It is the 10th leading cause of death among all ages. It is important to continue to raise awareness about mental health and share resources on suicide prevention. In observation of this month, here is a list of questions that could help you take action if you think someone is suicidal. The following questions came directly from the “I’ve Got You Project” (ivegotyouproject.com) and are adapted from The Mayo Clinic.
- Do you feel hopeless?
- Do you think about dying?
- Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
- Are you thinking about suicide?
- Have you ever thought about suicide before or tried to hurt yourself before?
- Are you wanting to give up?
- Have you thought about how or when you would do it?
- Have you been drinking or using any drugs?
- Do you have access to weapons or other means that can be used to hurt yourself?
If your friend or loved one answered yes to any of these questions and showing signs of suicidal behavior, take action by offering resources to show that they are not alone. Here are some further guidelines from The Mayo Clinic on what to do if you think someone is suicidal.
- Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.
- Encourage the person to seek treatment. A suicidal or severely depressed person may not have the energy or motivation to find help. If the person does not want to consult a doctor or mental health provider, suggest finding help from a support group, crisis center, faith community, teacher, or other trusted person. You can offer support and advice — but remember that it is not your job to substitute for a mental health provider.
- Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support. For example, you can research treatment options, make phone calls, and review.
It’s important to spread awareness and educate ourselves and others about mental health and suicide prevention. We encourage our readers who feel hopeless or depressed to call the National Suicide hotline if negative feelings arise.