“I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”
Knowing that a loved one wants to end their life can be incredibly upsetting and even more frightening if you are contemplating suicide yourself. In such a crisis, it is common to be unprepared and unsure what to do. This is why National Suicide Prevention Month is significant because it provides the community hope, education, and resources on this often taboo and stigmatized subject.
SUICIDE IS MORE COMPLEX THAN A DECISION
During a suicidal crisis, the physiological functioning of certain brain regions shifts. As a result, the brain’s ability to generate more than one problem-solving idea is narrowed. Fortunately, cognitive constriction’s nature is typically transient. If the person lives through the crisis, they can recover their normal coping functions and survive long after that moment. – Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Paraphrased.
1.38 million U.S. citizens attempted to take their own life.
47,511 victims died by suicide.
123 Americans, on average, commit suicide daily.
Frequently associated with an untreated mental health disorder, suicidal idealization can afflict anyone, regardless of age, gender, or culture.
Frequently individuals experience debilitating physical and emotional pain, frustration, loneliness, hopelessness, shame, guilt, rage, and conceivably self-hatred.
“The mental and physical pain is continuous, severe, and raw. You become obsessed with finding relief. Believing that others would be better off without you, suicide seems like a rational decision.” – Adam
Suicidal behavior is a psychiatric emergency. Do not attempt to resolve the issue single-handedly. Please seek immediate help from a healthcare professional or call 911.
It’s important to know that one or more of the below warning signs does not always indicate a mental health crisis. However, failing to take these signs seriously can result in disastrous consequences.
WHAT TO DO
A person in crisis may be unaware of how their behavior affects others. Recognize that they are in an altered state.
When a situation is escalated, call 911. Once police and/or first responders arrive, they will take charge of the situation.
While waiting for help to arrive:
- Be patient.
- Don’t debate, threaten or raise your voice about whether suicide is right or wrong.
- Focus on being understanding, caring, and nonjudgmental.
It is common to avoid thinking about the possibility of a crisis, but they do occur, making it critical to plan ahead. Talk with your family member when they are doing well. They usually can describe their warning signs.
Many healthcare providers ask patients to prepare a Wellness Recovery Action Plan to help form their overall care and steps to avoid a crisis. If they do not collaborate, establish your own plan.
Psychiatric Advance Directives
A patient can file a PSYCHIATRIC ADVANCE DIRECTIVES (PAD) while they are well if they are concerned about others making emergency treatment decisions for them. A PAD is a legal document that communicates a person’s instructions/preferences if they lose informed consent during a mental emergency. For more information: www.nrc-pad.org
THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY
- You are not alone.
- You deserve help and support.
- Support is available to you and your loved ones.
For immediate help please contact any of the following resources:
Emergency Services: 911
- Meridian’s 24-hour crisis hotline 352-374-5600, option 1
- The Alachua County Crisis Center 352-264-6789
- The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 988
HOW YOU CAN HELP
During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, everyone can make a difference:
- Take a Mental Health First Aid course or another prevention program in the community. To learn more, call 352-374-5600 x8652 or visit Meridian’s https://www.mbhci.org/treatment-and-service/mental-health-first-aid/.
- Remove stigmas by educating yourself.
- Make self-care a priority.
- Ask your local congressman to help improve mental healthcare in your state.
- Donate to a mental health nonprofit.
- Please make a gift today to help Meridian continue to provide uncompensated care to those in need.
- Every bit helps! Sign up for Amazon Smile at no cost to you. Choose Meridian as your nonprofit of choice, and Amazon will donate .5% of all eligible purchases. See: https://smile.amazon.comcharity?orig=%2F
To learn other ways you can support the wellness of others; please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.