September is a month of transition for many. Kids are going back to school, parents are going back to work and everyone is gearing up for a new season. This is a good time to be mindful of depression and suicide, which can often take hold as these new transitions become the norm. From the pressures of fitting in to bullying to the rigors of overwhelming academic work, there are many factors that can trigger or manifest in depression and possible suicide.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that 41,000 people die by suicide every year, leaving behind family and friends to deal with this tragedy of loss. It’s important to be aware that suicidal thoughts can occur in anyone, no matter their age, background or gender. Often stemming from an untreated mental health condition, suicidal thoughts should never be thought of as normal. Yes, depression is common, but having thoughts about killing oneself indicates a red flag for more serious issues.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, as good a time as any to share resources, stories and concerns to break down stigmas and stereotypes regarding this often taboo topic. This is a month to reach out to those people who have been touched by suicide, raise awareness and connect loved ones with treatment services to save a life.
Warning Signs of Depression
Suicide doesn’t always stem from one single cause. Many factors often come into play, from substance abuse to untreated depression. These factors can all equal a higher risk of suicide, which is why it’s important to know the warning signs of suicide.
According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), these are some of the warning signs to be on the lookout for in a loved one or even yourself:
- Speaking about wanting to die
- Speaking about wanting to kill oneself
- Searching for ways to kill oneself
- Speaking about feelings of hopelessness or of having no purpose in life, feeling trapped or going through unbearable pain
- Talking about becoming a burden to others
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Feelings of anxiety, agitation or recklessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing from social activities or other people
- Feelings of isolation
- Displaying extreme anger or rage, or talking about getting revenge on others
- Displaying extreme mood swings
What You Can Do
If you are concerned about the well-being of a loved one, encourage them to see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. If you feel the situation is an emergency, call 911 or head to a hospital ER to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. If a friend is having suicidal thoughts, don’t keep their plan for suicide a secret. Don’t fear risking the friendship…tell someone right away.
Don’t try to minimize a friend’s problems or shame them into changing their mind. Simply reassure them that help is available and that they can get better with treatment.
Seeking professional help is recommended. Contact Comprehensive MedPsych at one of our many locations. We have skilled, compassionate therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors on staff who can help!