Suicide Prevention Month: Actions to Take to Help Others
Every September, the mental health community comes together to shine a spotlight on suicide, which is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The message of National Suicide Prevention Month is that this major health concern is preventable if you know the warning signs and recommended actions to take. Learn what you can do to help a loved one get through a difficult time.
Actions to Take During Suicide Prevention Month
National Suicide Prevention Month is recognized every year to raise awareness in our communities about this significant health issue, which claims the lives of nearly 50,000 Americans annually. Whether you have been personally touched by suicide or not, there are many actions you can take to help others.
Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Suicide
Suicides rarely occur without warning. There are often many signs and symptoms that signal the beginnings of more serious problems, including:
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Aggressive behavior
- Reduced interest in friends, family and activities
- Drastic mood swings
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
In fact, nearly 50 percent of people who died by suicide had a mental health condition. If a family member or friend has a previously diagnosed mental health condition, monitoring these warning signs will help you recognize dangerous behavior before it spirals.
Be There for Loved Ones in Crisis
For those who are experiencing depression or other mental health issues, a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen can go a long way. Individuals who are having suicidal thoughts may feel a sense of relief from speaking with a friend or family member.
How to Help During Suicide Prevention Month
- Let them know they can talk to you
- Be open and compassionate
- Listen actively
If you think someone you know might be at risk, consider giving them a call.
Make Sure They Stay Safe
If you think a loved one may be in crisis, it’s recommended that precautions be taken to protect them from hurting themselves, such as limiting access to lethal objects or places.
Stay in Touch
For individuals experiencing mental health issues, human connection is very important. Staying in close contact with a loved one who is experiencing mental health issues may help reduce feelings of hopelessness. While it may not seem like much, the simple act of staying connected with someone in crisis can be a life-saving action.
Help Them Connect
If you think a loved one might be at risk, it’s important to address the issue quickly. Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. Let them know about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK) and the Crisis Text Line (741741). It just might be the most important action you take.
Family Health Centers is Always Here for You
Our behavioral health team specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health issues, like anxiety, stress and depression, for all regardless of insurance status or the ability to pay. Requesting an appointment today is an important first step to maintaining mental wellness.