By Sandy Lyons-Jackson
September 6–12 is National Suicide Prevention Week.
Suicide is a major public health concern. Over 48,000 people died by suicide in 2018; it is the 10th leading cause of death overall. The rate of suicide has increased over 33% in the past two decades.
COVID-19 has increased many individuals’ isolation and has caused great financial and emotional stress and hardship. It is important that we help others around us so that we all feel supported and not alone.
Suicide can be preventable. Knowing the warning signs and how to get help can save lives.
Some Signs and Symptoms:
Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
Talking about emptiness, hopelessness, or having no reason to live
Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves: online searches, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
Talking about great guilt or shame
Talking about feeling trapped and no solution
Unbearable pain (physical or emotional)
Talking about being a burden
Using alcohol or drugs more often
Acting anxious or agitated
Withdrawing from family or friends
Changes in eating or sleeping habits
Talking or thinking about death often
Giving away important possessions
Putting affairs in order, making a will
If someone you know has these feelings, please get them help; call for them if you must! Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.
Five Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:
Ask: Are you thinking about killing yourself?
Keep Them Safe: Reduce access to lethal items or places.
Be There: Listen carefully and acknowledge their feelings.
Help Them Connect: National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Stay Connected: Follow up and stay in touch after a crisis.