Every September, people across the country take part in National Suicide Prevention Week to raise awareness and spread the central message that suicide is preventable. Each year, more than 40,000 Americans die from suicide, and around 1.4 million Americans attempt suicide. One death from suicide is one too many, and by working together, communities can help prevent the tragedy of suicide from happening.
In our post below, we will discuss how a person can identify individuals who may be at risk of suicide and describe actions you can take to help support someone at-risk. We will also encourage people to take part in National Suicide Prevention Week virtually. Then we will detail how mental health hospitals can help prevent suicide by helping people better manage their mental health conditions.
When a person may be at risk of suicide
One of the most critical components to preventing suicide is being able to identify who may be at risk. When you can determine high-risk individuals, you can take action by reaching out and expressing empathy. Having someone demonstrate that they care and that they are willing to talk can be a huge source of strength for an at-risk person.
A common warning sign that someone may be at risk of suicide is if the he or she starts to remove themselves from social situations by limiting contact with their friends and family. This tactic of self-isolation may indicate that the person is facing depression, which can lead to suicide if the individual does not receive treatment immediately.
Another common warning sign is when a person starts to engage in risky behaviors without serious consideration for their well-being. The person may begin engaging in substance abuse, unsafe sex, or reckless driving. Engaging in this behavior may be a sign that the person does not care about protecting their life.
When considering if a person displays warning signs of suicide behavior, it may also help consider risk factors of suicide. Along with common warning signs, risk factors of suicide can help you determine if a person may need help. Risk factors of suicide include:
- A history of trauma, including violence and sexual abuse.
- Knowing people who have committed suicide.
- Recently losing a spouse or a job.
- Financial hardship.
Of course, warning signs and risk factors of suicide never confirm that a person is at risk of suicide. However, you can use the above information to identify who may need help in your social circles and the broader community.
What to do when a person is at risk
If you identify someone who may be at risk of suicide, the first step is to talk to the person. Giving the individual attention and providing them with an outlet to discuss their situation can provide comfort and relief for an at-risk person. For guidance, look to the #BeThe1To campaign’s five steps. The campaign’s five steps are:
- Be There
- Keep Them Safe
- Help Them Connect
- Follow Up
Recent research on suicide prevention methods supports the above five steps as an effective method for engaging with at-risk individuals. If you do not feel comfortable reaching out or do not know what to do in a particular situation, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The lifeline is available 24/7 at +1 (800) 273-8255. When you call, a trained professional can help advise you on your situation and on how the at-risk individual can get the help they need.
Getting involved in National Suicide Prevention Week virtually
National Suicide Prevention Week occurs from September 6th to September 12th, and the week surrounds World Suicide Prevention Day, which occurs on September 10th. While there are typically many in-person events during the week, participants in National Suicide Prevention Week 2020 must navigate new social distancing guidelines.
Fortunately, it is easy to participate in National Suicide Prevention Week virtually. To participate, you can share ready-to-go social media graphics for suicide prevention from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sharing this content with your online followers helps raise awareness of suicide prevention can help at-risk individuals know that help is available.
How San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital can help
A critical action for suicide prevention is helping at-risk individuals get the mental health treatment they need. When a person suffers from a mental health condition, this often worsens over time if the individual does not receive treatment. The condition can then progress to the point that it is unmanageable and the individual wrongly considers suicide to be the only way to deal with their mental health challenges.
At San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we offer a variety of mental health treatment programs that can help at-risk individuals improve their mental health. We offer outpatient mental health treatment programs for adults, including partial hospitalization programs. For adults who require 24/7 residential care, we provide inpatient mental health programs for adults. We also offer specialized mental health treatment programs for teens.
To get started at San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, call our staff at (210) 541-5300 to schedule a free mental health assessment. With the assessment, we can help you decide if our behavioral healthcare hospital is the best place for you or a loved one who may be at risk of suicide.