Mental health advocates and organizations gather during National Suicide Prevention Week each year to raise awareness that suicide is preventable. The week occurs from September 6th to September 10th, and it ends on World Suicide Prevention Day.
In the spirit of National Suicide Prevention Week, we discuss suicide prevention strategies in this article. We share how an individual can identify a person at risk of suicide, and we share actions that the individual can take to help an at-risk person. We also discuss ways to get involved in National Suicide Prevention Week campaigns, and we detail several mental health programs that can help a person who may be considering suicide.
Identifying who may be at risk of suicide
There are a few warning signs that may indicate a person is at risk of suicide. If one can identify those warning signs and take an active approach towards helping those in need, one can help prevent instances of suicide.
Often, people who struggle with mental health conditions - particularly depression - are at risk of suicide. If the person does not receive treatment for their mental health condition, the person’s mental health condition can continue to worsen to the point that it is unmanageable. At that stage, the person may incorrectly consider suicide to be the only way out of their situation. Warning signs of a person struggling with mental health and being at risk of suicide can include the person displaying mood swings, increased irritability, or a tendency to avoid social interaction. Likewise, sudden changes to sleeping and eating patterns may also be warning signs.
Another warning sign that a person may be at risk of suicide is if the person seems focused on death. They may regularly bring up death in conversation, share thoughts that they would be better off dead, or repeatedly make jokes about death. Those actions may be a call for help, and they can be warning signs that a person is at risk.
A third set of warning signs includes the person exhibiting a general disregard for their life and well-being. An at-risk person may appear more impulsive than usual and start engaging in increasingly dangerous behaviors, despite those behaviors resulting in bodily harm. Such behaviors can include substance abuse, unsafe sex, and reckless driving.
Helping people at-risk people and getting involved in National Suicide Prevention Week
Anyone can help prevent suicide. A person can take action during National Suicide Prevention Week and throughout the year. We share some ways to get involved below.
One way to get involved is by focusing on the people around you. If a friend or family member exhibits the above warning signs, reach out to them and offer support. A conversation with an at-risk person can go a long way. For help from trained professionals, you or the at-risk person can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Callers can reach trained professionals 24/7 who can listen to your situation and provide guidance on improving one’s well-being. Remember, if a person is ever in immediate risk of harming themselves or others, call 911 instead.
A second way to get involved is by participating in one of the many social media campaigns for National Suicide Prevention Week. Sharing content about suicide prevention with your friends and followers online can help raise awareness and provide at-risk individuals with support. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers a variety of free social media graphics for suicide prevention. You can also share content on suicide prevention from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s #BeThe1To campaign. The #BeThe1To campaign focuses on five steps that a person can take to help an at-risk person. The campaign’s five steps are: (1) ask, (2) be there, (3) keep them safe, (4) help them connect, and (5) follow up. Be sure to read up on each of the five steps, as there are important details on the best practices that suicide prevention advocates should know.
How Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute can help at-risk individuals
When a person’s mental health conditions become unmanageable, the person may incorrectly see suicide as the only way out of their difficult situation. Fortunately, recovery from mental health challenges is possible with the help of clinical professionals.
At Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute, we offer mental health services that can help at-risk individuals manage their mental health and build a positive outlook. Our programs include inpatient treatment for mental health and substance abuse, and for adults who do not require residential mental health treatment, we offer intensive outpatient programs.
To get started at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute, contact our team anytime at (512) 819-1154. A member of our team can help you determine if our programs are the right choice for you or a loved one, and we can help you schedule a free mental health assessment with our clinical staff.