Anyone can become suicidal; if someone talks about it, take it very, very seriously
It’s a startling number, but every day, 123 Americans die by suicide. And sadly, that number is on the rise.
From 1999 to 2016, the rate of suicide among Americans ages 25 to 64 rose by 41 percent.
September marks suicide prevention awareness month and Eastern Virginia Medical School experts are reminding the public that anyone can be at risk.
“Open discussion is an important part of suicide prevention,” says Serina Neumann, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at EVMS. “It’s vital to be able to recognize the warning signs and know how to handle them.”
If you encounter someone showing signs of suicide, don’t be afraid to talk to the person about it.
Among the red flags to watch out for are:
Feeling empty or hopeless.
Taking about great guilt or shame.
Acting agitated or anxious.
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Taking unusual risks.
Abnormal sleeping habits.
Dr. Neumann says if you encounter someone showing these signs, don’t be afraid to talk to the person about it.
“Research has shown that these types of conversations can help reduce the risk of suicide,” said Neumann.
She recommends taking these steps to help keep the person safe:
Remove lethal items from the home.
Be there to listen to their thoughts.
Help them get connected with someone they can trust or help. them call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK or text the Crisis Line (text HELLO to 741741).
Don’t forget to follow up with them after the crisis.
Learn more about how to recognize the signs of crisis and how to have important conversations with these resources: