How to Help Your Loved One Say No to Suicide
If you you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. 1-800-273-8255
September is National Suicide Prevention month, a time to bring awareness to the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Over 47,000 Americans commit suicide each year, and the numbers are not decreasing. An estimated 1.38 million made a suicide attempt in 2019. Depression and manic depression are often underlying causes of suicidal thoughts.
If you suspect that your loved one is contemplating suicide or has even made an attempt in the past, it’s vital to learn how to recognize dangerous changes in their mental health, how to provide support, and what treatments may help them manage their mental health so that suicide can be avoided.
Suicide And Risk Factors
Suicidal thoughts affect people of every race and gender. Many people who commit suicide have underlying psychological conditions (oftentimes depression or manic depression) or have other known risk factors such as a family history of addiction, mental illness or are victims of violence including physical or sexual abuse.
Sometimes, however, a suicide attempt occurs after a recent loss. In order to prevent a loved one from thinking about suicide or actually making an attempt, it can be helpful to understand their personal risk factors and help them manage their feelings and thought processes in healthy ways.
Suicide And Depression
As many as 50% of people who commit suicide have an underlying mental health problem, typically depression or manic depression. Acute anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are also associated with suicide. For loved ones, it’s essential to know that clinical depression is not a choice; it is a mental health disorder that requires treatment.
All the encouragement in the world may not help your loved one without professional medical treatment for their illness. Yet with treatment, your support can help them manage their illness.
Supporting Your Loved One
Family members or partners can help their loved ones say no to suicide by learning to recognize the warning signs that sometimes accompany suicidal thoughts or worsening depression. If your loved one begins to withdraw from others, refuses to participate in activities they once enjoyed, or engages in risk-taking activities, they may need help sooner rather than later.
If they display a sense of hopelessness or helplessness, you should not ignore their state of mind or expect them to “feel better’ in another week or two. Instead, you should encourage them to get into treatment right away, including calling the National Suicide Lifeline, which could help save their life.
Treatment For Depression
If someone you love has experienced suicidal thoughts and is not in imminent danger of self harm, mental health treatment can help. Therapy and oftentimes pharmaceutical treatment are necessary to manage serious depressive episodes. Some sufferers may need to remain on medications indefinitely.
Medical experts can help those contemplating suicide by assessing their mental health condition and offering proven treatments that can help bring people back from the abyss. Psychotherapy and medication often work in tandem to generate positive results among those suffering from mental illness.
If your loved one is at risk for suicide or has made a suicide attempt, give them the support and encouragement they need to seek treatment. If you would like to talk to a mental health professional, give us a call today. Mental Health Center at Destination Hope is dedicated to giving compassionate and individualized mental health treatment to everyone who walks through our doors.