Suicide Prevention Month – How to Help a Loved One

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]**Skills of Central PA is not a crisis resource. Please call 911 if you are in crisis.

National Suicide Prevention Month 2020

In Pennsylvania, 15 people in every 100,000 committed suicide in 2019, putting our state slightly higher than the national average for that year. As troubling as these numbers are, individuals equipped with the right knowledge can help prevent a suicide attempt.

What to look for

It’s important to notice warning signs of a friend or loved one considering suicide so that they can find help before a suicide attempt. Here are some common signs to look for:

  • Talking about suicide (“I want to die” or “I want to sleep forever”)
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with thoughts of death
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving too fast
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other reason to do this
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again

What you can do

If you suspect someone might be suicidal, even if uncomfortable, it’s important to discuss it with them. Some people are reluctant to ask about suicide, because they are concerned they might push someone into doing something self-destructive. This is not true. Having a conversation is the first step to getting someone help. Be sensitive, but direct, with questions like:

  • How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
  • Do you ever feel like just giving up?
  • Are you thinking about dying?
  • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
  • Are you thinking about suicide?
  • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
  • Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
  • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?

For immediate help

If someone has attempted suicide:

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what’s going on.

If a friend or loved one talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe they might attempt suicide, don’t try to handle the situation alone:

  • Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed.
  • Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number (resources listed below)

Crisis Line Resources

  • 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • En Español: 1-888-628-9454
  • 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741

Mental Health with Skills of Central PA

Mental health is an integral component of overall wellness. Just as important as eating healthy or getting exercise, preventative mental health practices can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and help to manage depression and anxiety, and even prevent suicide.

Learn more about Skills mental health services here.

**Skills of Central PA is not a crisis resource. Please call 911 if you are in crisis.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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