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September is National Suicide Prevention Month

September 10, 2018

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, faith, or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. Each year, more than 44,000 Americans die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by suicide are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly about their struggles. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. For most college students, it is their first time living away from home and family members. This transition can be overwhelming for some students, especially those who experience anxiety with change, have difficulty making friends, or who are having difficulty meeting the demands of a challenging course load.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect those individuals with suicidal thoughts to treatment services. Understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation around suicide. Someone dies by suicide in our nation every 13 minutes. Many suicides can be prevented by people knowing the warning signs, and more importantly, knowing what to do if they recognize those signs in themselves or someone they care about.

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Giving away possessions
  • Declining grades or skipping classes

Tips for Asking the Suicide Question

  • If in doubt, don’t wait, ask the question. If the person is reluctant, be persistent!
  • Talk to the person alone in a private setting. Allow the person to talk freely, without judgment, and give yourself plenty of time for the conversation.
  • Be direct. Ask if the person is thinking of suicide. Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won’t push someone into doing something self-destructive. In fact, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings.
  • Have your resources handy; suicide prevention card, phone numbers, counselor name, and any other information that might help. Offer to go with the individual to get help.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please reach out for help. Hope and healing are just a phone call away.

GET INVOLVED

Community Suicide Prevention Education Event

Monday, September 10, 2018

Experts, alongside local crisis counselors, will be standing by live to provide information, answer questions, and provide tips. Includes presentation, panel discussion, and opportunities to ask questions. Free dinner and childcare provided.

5:30 p.m. Meal, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Panel & Discussion
Thomas Jefferson High School, 2501 West Broadway, Council Bluffs
Cost: Free
Call: (712) 302-7907 to register

“The S Word” Screening – The Kim Foundation, Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare & the Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The film shares stories of suicide attempt survivors and survivors of suicide loss while documenting their unguarded courage, insight, pain, and humor. A panel discussion will follow the screening.

7:00 p.m.
UNO College of Public Affairs & Community Service Building, 6320 Maverick Plaza, Room 132
Contact: Lori Atkinson at (402) 891-6910 or latkinson@thekimfoundation.org

Theresa Swoboda, RN, MS | Vice-President, Program Services, Catholic Charities

RESOURCES

 http://www.thekimfoundation.org/

Catholic Charities of Omaha. To arrange a confidential appointment or assessment for yourself or a loved one, please call (402) 554-0520. https://www.ccomaha.org/

 

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