September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day. We need suicide prevention every day.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are in crisis, please, reach out for help. Talk to a family member, a friend, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. If you need to, call the suicide hotline number: 1-800-273-8255. You can also text “GO” TO 741741. If you cannot keep yourself safe, then go to a hospital or call 911.
The suicide hotline number saves lives but we as a society need to do more. The first thing we can do is talk about it. Talking about suicide reduces the stigma attached to it and can save lives. We need to create a platform where people feel safe to talk about what they are going through. We need to dissipate the shame and silence of those who are suffering.
Recognize the warning signs of suicide. I have taken these warning signs from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
If a person talks about:
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
If a person’s behavior changes in the following ways:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
A person who is suicidal may experience one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
- Relief/Sudden Improvement
Talking about suicide and knowing the warning signs are important, but to prevent suicide, mental health treatment needs to improve. We need to treat mental health the way we treat physical health. It needs to be easier for people living with mental illness to receive treatment. To do this, we need to hold policy makers accountable and demand changes.
Speak out, reach out, and advocate. It could make all the difference.