Talking and seeking help crucial to helping prevent suicide
“You are not alone.” This is a message to everyone who has ever been depressed, anxious, had suicidal thoughts or suffered from mental illness. During Suicide Prevention Month, MidMichigan Health professionals remind you that it is OK to talk about suicide and that seeking help is crucial and never a sign of weakness.
“According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is now the tenth most common cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in those 10 to 34 years old,” said Kathy Dollard, Psy.D., L.P., director of behavioral health at MidMichigan Health. “Paying attention to warning signs and certain behaviors in individuals can be key to getting them the support and help that they need.”
The warning signs before suicide aren’t always clear, nor are they universal. Suicide is often complex and usually not from a single cause. Still, across the board, mental health experts say certain behaviors shouldn’t be ignored.
Signals that may indicate someone is in need of help can include both verbal signs and behavioral cues. Verbal signs may be talking about wanting to die or kill oneself; declarations of feeling trapped or having nothing to live for; talking about great guilt or unbearable pain; insistence of being a burden to others; speaking of revenge; lack of communication or noticeable withdrawal. Behavioral cues that may signal an individual is in trouble can include acting anxious, agitated or restless; increased use of alcohol or drugs; sleeping too little or too much; suggestive actions, such as online searches or obtaining a gun; giving away possessions or making visits to say goodbye; reckless conduct or extreme mood swings.
Suicide can become a threat after a loss. It could be the death of a loved one, including a pet, or the loss of a job or relationship.
Although the age of onset is usually mid-teens, mental health conditions can also begin to develop in younger children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms in children and teens are behavioral. Symptoms may include changes in school performance, excessive worry or anxiety, fighting to avoid bed or school, hyperactive behavior, frequent nightmares, disobedience or temper tantrums. In addition to the symptoms mentioned, teens might isolate, use substances, and have drastic personality changes.
MidMichigan Health offers a variety of behavioral health programs, including psychiatric inpatient care, outpatient care and office-based care. Those interested in learning more may visit www.midmichigan.org/mentalhealth.
Those concerned about the imminent danger of another taking their life should call 911 immediately. Those needing assistance or have questions are recommended to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). In addition, people in crisis can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.