Each year, over 800,000 people commit suicide, and even more make an attempt. Because suicide is such a widespread issue and affects so many people, the week of September 10-16th has been deemed Suicide Prevention Week.
Suicide Prevention Week
At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, we recognize the importance of this issue by joining National Suicide Prevention Week 2017 to support the efforts towards increased awareness by sharing resources and educating the public on suicidal signs, risk factors, and treatment options.
What is Suicide?
The term “suicide” is the instance of voluntarily taking one’s own life. Suicide, in the traditional sense of the word, means acting upon the self-destructive thoughts (suicidal ideation) that ultimately result in killing oneself.
Suicidal thoughts are considered somewhat common in those who suffer from mental illness. Regardless, suicidal thoughts are not “normal” and they should be taken seriously and addressed immediately.
There is no one specific cause of suicide. Suicide can affect anyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, or background. Yet there are some factors that can increase one’s risk of suicidal thoughts and/or actions. Many who struggle with suicidality have undiagnosed and/or untreated depression or other mental illness. Other risk factors include:
- Previous suicide attempt – unfortunately, many suicide attempts go unrecognized. This is often due to the individual feeling guilty or shameful about the attempt, or because he or she has a plan to attempt a second time.
- Family history of suicide.
- Lack of support system – emotional support from friends, family, community.
- History of abuse or trauma – physical, emotional, sexual, etc.
- Chronic physical ailments – experiencing chronic, longstanding physical problems and pain can increase the chances of developing hopelessness and depression.
Warning Signs of Someone Contemplating Suicide
Individuals who contemplate suicide often display signs that could signify their suicidal intentions. Knowing the possible warning signs can be extremely beneficial in supporting suicide prevention. Some common signs are:
- Talking about wanting to die – this can be anything from statements such as “I wish I wasn’t here” or “I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up,” to more overt and explicit comments like “I want to die.”
- Remarks about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
- Expressing feeling like a burden to others.
- Increased use of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Engaging in reckless or aggressive behavior.
- Intense mood swings.
- Social isolation – cutting off contact with friends, family, community, etc.
- Saying “goodbye” to loved ones.
Getting Involved in Suicide Prevention
Understanding the issues surrounding suicide is a significant way to contribute to suicide prevention. This means understanding the risk factors, warning signs, and support options. Being an active and involved participant in suicide prevention also means sharing what you know. Promoting open and honest conversations about suicide is a great way to educate others and decrease the stigma around suicide.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.