September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and there are many ways that you can help support this important issue. Mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts are more common than you may realize. In Hancock County, “mental health and suicide” was among the top five concerns of respondents to our 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment. You can help support suicide prevention and those struggling with mental wellness with these steps.
IMPORTANT: If you or someone you know is in immediate risk of self-harm or suicide, call 911 immediately. We also recommend calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or texting the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741) if you prefer text. These services are both free, confidential and available 24/7.
Take a QPR suicide prevention class
Just like you would take a CPR class to be prepared for an emergency response situation, our QPR suicide prevention training can prepare you to save someone’s life too. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” three steps you can take to support someone who may be considering suicide or self-harm. QPR classes will help you identify the warning signs of suicide in loved ones, friends or coworkers, and how to get them access to resources that can help. Healthy365 offers QPR classes quarterly, and you can sign up for our next training online.
Remember the signs of suicide
There are several warning signs of suicide or self-harm that you may be able to identify in people you interact with often. Some of these signs include talking about wanting to die or about being a burden to others. They may also experience feelings of hopelessness, or act more anxious, agitated or reckless with extreme mood swings. Those considering suicide may start using alchohol or drugs more frequently, sleep too much or too little, or withdraw from life and isolate from others. If you notice any of these signs in someone you know, you should get them help right away.
Know who is at risk
Anyone can be at risk for suicide or self-harm, even those who seem “fine” on the outside. Knowing the warning signs of suicide can help in suicide prevention, but it can also help to know the populations who may be at higher risk. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), population groups at greater risk of suicide can include veterans, American Indians, LGBTQ+, young adults, loss and disaster survivors and survivors of a previous suicide attempt. If you have a friend or loved one in one of these categories and notice a change in their behavior, keep an eye out for the early signs of emotional suffering.
Help reduce mental health stigma
You can also help prevent suicide by reducing the stigma around mental health and wellness. If someone is able to talk about their feelings or get help from a mental health professional early on when they are having a difficult time, it may prevent them from ever getting to the point of contemplating suicide. At Healthy365, you can work with a Support Navigator to connect you or someone you love with resources such as support groups, counseling/therapy and more. We host events like Rise Above It to discuss important mental health concerns and offer coping mechanisms to our local community of teens and adults. You may also consider supporting the Hancock County Mental Health Campaign, a funding effort to bring mental illness and substance abuse to light — and bring an end to darkness and suffering.
Always know that help is available for those in crisis, and you can contact Healthy365 online or at 317-468-4231 for a connection to local mental health resources and more.