January 01, 2017
A completed suicide occurs when an individual ends their own life. It is a serious public health issue that can have a huge impact on a family, an office, a school or even an entire community.
Talking about suicide is a difficult conversation that many just avoid, and some feel that not talking about the subject will make the problem disappear.
However, suicide and suicidal thoughts impact millions of Americans every year. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the US with over 38,000 deaths. Additionally it is the 3rd leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-24 and the second leading cause for those 25-34. Further, the state of Colorado actually has one of the highest rates in the nation with increasing numbers.
As scary as the numbers are, there is still plenty of hope. Estimates vary, but experts agree that the majority of cases of suicide are preventable. Mental health and substance abuse disorders are common and combine with stressors that can overwhelm an individual. Screening programs and other interventions can be used to work with individuals before it is too late.
Learning starts with observation. Though not all cases present clear indicators, understanding risk factors and identifying signs can ultimately prevent you or someone you love from harming themselves.
If you notice these behaviors in yourself or someone you know there are plenty of options. The first thing to remember is there is always someone who will listen.
When speaking to another individual, listen closely and be careful not to pass judgment. Ask them directly about suicide or intention to harm themselves. Never
put yourself in danger or try to take a weapon out of their hand, and in an emergency contact local police or dial 911.
Risk factors and signs of suicide:
- Talking about death or wanting to die or kill oneself.
- Talking about feeling helpless or not having a reason to continue.
- Talking about being a burden on others.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in inescapable pain.
- Searching for materials to kill oneself such as researching firearms.
- Feeling isolated or withdrawn.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
- Behaving recklessly or dangerously.
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol.
You can also:
- Talk to the individual that you are worried about and help connect them to local or national resources.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
- Talk to your doctor.
- Talk to a school guidance counselor.
- Connect to a local treatment facility by searching here.
- Connect with local Colorado resources such as a local health department or Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health.
- Call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) where you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in
your area, anytime 24/7. You can call for yourself, or to talk about a friend or family member.
- Visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for more information.