The National Suicide Prevention Week kicks off September 8th and runs through the 14th. The week is dedicated to promoting suicide awareness and helping loved ones know what warning signs to look for. This is an increasingly important isue, as suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. With suicide rates consistently on the rise, we must take a closer look at mental health.
Mental health encompasses our physical, mental and social well-being. Related disorders can be short and long-term problems. Mental struggles can affect the decisions we make, how we view things, and how we interact with other people. Not only can mental health issues lead to suicide, but they can cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic pain. Even if our loved ones aren’t speaking about suicide, if their mental health is fading we have an obligation to encourage them to seek help.
Suicide knows no age. While it might be more prevalent in certain demographics such as middle-aged white males, it is something that affects us all. Those at the highest risk include adults between the ages of 55 to 84 as well as 25 to 34. It is important to note that there has been a surge in suicides for those aged 15 to 24. We can look at statistics all day long, but the simple fact is that suicide knows no age, gender, race, or social status. It does not discriminate.
It is vital that we pay attention to our loved ones and their behaviors. Withdrawing from family and friends, making comments about suicide and giving away important possessions are all actions to take note of. But not all of those contemplating suicide show signs. In fact, only about 75 percent do. So what can we do for those loved ones who are struggling? Communicate and be present; a continuous line of interaction is crucial for those with mental health battles.
There are many ways to get your loved one help. Suicide hotline phone numbers are 1-800-SUICIDE and 1-800-273-TALK. Sometimes they need someone that isn’t partial to talk to. Encourage them to seek medical attention. If you feel that someone is an imminent threat to themselves, don’t be afraid to call local authorities for help.
Attend one of Hudson Physicians childhood mental health series of events, on the following topics.
- Understanding the addictive nature of technology on children under 8th grade
- How technology affects mood, sleep, and overall child development
Event details, dates, and RSVP here.
There are several treatment options available to those battling suicidal thoughts and attempts. The key here is to seek medical help to determine the root cause of the problem. From therapy (private, one-on-one sessions or family sessions) to medication, there are well studied courses of action that can be taken. There are also cognitive behavior therapies (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapies (DBT) for those who have attempted suicide and still have recurring suicidal thoughts.
Our help shouldn’t be limited to just those that we care about. If you have a story to tell, reach out to those in your community. Volunteer, speak at school and church groups, or even join an awareness walk. There are countless ways to help each other. Don’t be afraid to be a voice.
Hudson Physicians has a team of experts ready to help. We focus on building relationships for lasting healthy success.