Mental health and wellness is an area of focus many are uncomfortable discussing, but this is changing. More services, discussions, and support appear, but more is needed as the needs increase.
Suicide is a leading cause of death for people 10-34. From April 2020 through April 2021, over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses. An increase in stress, trauma, and continued conflicts bring continued tension to everyone. Did you know in 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes? There are people, families, and communities impacted by all of these traumatic events.
On July 16, 2022, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Line went live Nationwide! Now people can call or text 988 to be connected to a trained counselor who is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, offer support, and connect them to resources if necessary.
It is easier to remember 988 than a long 1-800 number. 988 Suicide website offers additional resources to offer additional support. If you also want to download some of the cards to give to others, print out the logo with the number, and add the logo to your photos to use in a newsletter as a reminder. They have additional tools to use if you are dealing with the press in reporting an incident of suicide.
There will never be a right time to talk about suicide prevention, suicide in general, or the resources. It is a challenging subject to discuss. However, the wrong time is after a suicide has happened to begin the discussions.
Suicide can happen, but we can help to prevent it! We must recognize warning signs and build relationships so others feel good and safe. Warning signs can be one of/or some, and sometimes we do not see any:
- previous suicide attempts
- mentioning suicide plans
- acquiring the means, gun, rope, poison, or stockpiling pills
- preoccupation with death in conversations
- giving away valuable items or favorite prized possessions on impulse
- recent neglect of their hygiene-appearances
- cleaning and tidying a room far more than usual
- sad, depressed, hopeless or lacking energy
- rage, uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
- increased use of drugs or alcohol
- too much sleep or too little
- sudden lift in spirits or happiness, after prolonged sadness, for the end is near
- withdrawing from friends, family, and prior interests
- a dramatic change in dress or personal activities
- rewriting a will or farewell letters, or visiting to say goodbye
- apologizing to others for various past actions;
- taking deadly risks such as driving extremely
- increased absence from school or work
- poorer performance at work or school
- actions or words of hopelessness, intense anger, or unexplained happiness
Helping others to feel validated in your school, workplace, and home is always a great place to start. Consistent conversations and listening are essential so others feel seen and heard. Not everyone wants to be in the spotlight, but they want to know there is light in the world for them. Thank you for being part of the solution daily for others; you are the light that helps them shine when they can!