Suicide can be an uncomfortable topic of conversation. Keep the lines of communication open and know the warning signs. You could save a life.
September is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention month. Did you know that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in America? Suicide has become a major public health concern in our society and it affects all of us. Tragically, over 41,000 people complete suicide every year in the United States. However, research has shown that a great majority of those who have attempted suicide give some warning signs of their intent to do so in the days or weeks preceding the attempt. By recognizing a suicidal person’s cries for help and offering hope through persuasion towards positive action, suicide can be prevented.
Suicide does not discriminate between age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. There are identifiable risk factors to be aware of if you believe someone you know is contemplating suicide. Major warning signs of suicide include:
- Suicide threats
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Statements revealing a desire to die
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Prolonged (untreated) depression
- Making final arrangements
- Giving away prized possessions
- Purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills
What can you do?
Suicide is frequently viewed as a taboo subject that many people are uncomfortable talking about. Often times, we fail to offer help to someone because we either believe we do not have the power to change their minds or do not take their threats seriously. It is important to keep in mind that anyone can prevent suicide and that all threats need to be taken seriously.
QPR Gatekeeper Training (Question, Persuade, Refer) is a 1-hour long training course designed to teach the public how to intervene when they believe someone they know is at risk of attempting suicide. Much like CPR or the Heimlich Maneuver, the fundamentals of QPR are easily learned and may save a life. If you or your agency are interested in QPR training, please contact Mallory Crouch, LCSW at Mallory@pennockcounseling.org or at (303)655-9065 ext 5.
**If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. You may also call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.