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World Suicide Prevention Day: Take a Minute to Reach Out to Someone

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Light a candle tonight for World Suicide Prevention DaySuicide claims an average of 132 lives a day in the U.S. The more than 48,000 deaths in 2018 made suicide the nation’s 10th leading cause of death. Worldwide, suicide claims  800,000 lives each year.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which coincides with National Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S. The observances highlight how interventions by all of us can prevent deaths. People who’ve contemplated suicide say the words and actions of others helped them, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

“If you see someone in distress, take a minute to speak with them, ask them how they are and if they need help,” said Beth Jacobson, director of Community Response and Education at NewBridge Services.

Suicide warning signs:

  • Hopelessness
  • Uncontrolled anger and/or agitation
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Dramatic mood changes

For every suicide, another 25 people attempt suicide, and more have serious thoughts of suicide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated risk factors of suicide such as trauma, loneliness, unemployment, grief, and financial struggles. A recent CDC survey of adults conducted after the COVID-19 pandemic began found nearly 11% had considered suicide during the prior month.

Five Action Steps

Most victims of suicide had a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death. But when people get proper mental health treatment, they are far less likely to follow through on suicidal thoughts, Jacobson said. The National Institute of Mental Health recommends taking these five actions when you suspect someone is having suicidal thoughts:

  1. Ask. While it may feel awkward, ask, ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’
  2. Keep them safe. Keep them away from lethal items and places.
  3. Be there. Ask questions and listen to what they are thinking and feeling.
  4. Help them connect. Make sure they get in touch with a mental health professional or someone very close to them.
  5. Stay connected. Follow up with the individual afterward because that can reduce the risk of a subsequent crisis. 

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a key resource for people contemplating suicide.Suicide Crisis Resources

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–TALK (8255), or New Jersey’s round-the-clock suicide prevention hotline at NJ HOPELINE, 1-855-654-6735. Crisis chat is accessible through the website.

Having a suicide safety plan, a toolkit of strategies for diffusing an emotional crisis, can truly be a lifeline, Jacobson said. “Encourage friends and family to add crisis resources to their smartphones for 24/7 emotional support,” she said. Read the story here of a NewBridge client who successfully used his suicide safety plan.

Tonight, light a candle by a window at 8 p.m. to show your support for World Suicide Prevention Day. Remember people who have died, and their family and friends who carry the pain of those losses.

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© 2020 Newbridge Services. E-mail And Voicemail Cannot Replace Counseling.