The impact of suicide is far-reaching. It impacts friends, family and our communities. Some family members never recover from the effects of suicide. Anger, guilt and remorse over the loss of a loved one to suicide never subsides for some, especially if they had a close relationship with the person they lost.
Do you automatically assume that ALL people that commit suicide do so because of depression? You should know that not everyone that suffers from depression show the usual signs.
Did you also know that there are numerous medications that are used to treat illness that have suicidal tendencies associated with them? Because of the ongoing illness, many patients do not associate the way they are feeling with this side effect. They just know that they do not want to continue feeling the way that they do.
Self recrimination is a terrible thing.
“If I had only known how they were feeling, I would done more to help”
“Why did they not get help?”
“I thought they were just unhappy and complaining all of the time.”
“I did not know they were serious when they threatened to do something.”
Have you missed a cry for help?
You can reach out today, and help someone that you know is struggling. Because some suicidal people feel like they are a burden, it is up to you to inform and arm yourself with information and resources to help.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10 – 24. This month is dedicated to bringing awareness and providing resources to enable us to help someone struggling and unable to find a way out of this desperation.
How do you recognize the signs of someone who is suicidal? Do you know what you can do to try to prevent this devastating loss?
These are extraordinary times, and no one has been exempt from Covid-19. People are feeling heightened emotional distress right now. People with pre-existing mental health difficulties are having their worst fears realized, and may not be handling all of the changes to their lives very well and need help and support.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS!
A wonderful resource is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Here is their list of warning signs:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated: behaving recklessly
- Sleeping to little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
If you know someone who is in crisis, and you need to know more information on how to help them, call the The Lifeline 24/7. They provide free and confidential support for people in distress, providing crisis resources for you or your loved ones, as well as best practices for professionals.
The Lifeline provides a list of Do’s and Dont’s for communicating with a person in crisis. Whether or not you believe getting involved is the right thing to do, how you handle this sensitive situation can help to prevent a death.
Our youth are having increased mental health challenges due to Covid-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April-June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019”.
Another fabulous resource for our youth is the Jason Foundation. Their website provides immediate action items to help you help a loved one in crisis. They provide essential information for parents, students, educators and professionals.
Here are a few coping tips from the Lifeline to support your emotional well-being during Covid-19, along with a link to the entire article:
People that are feeling emotional distress related to COVID-19 can take actions to help support themselves and others.
- Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news.
- Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible.
- Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak.
- Get accurate health information from reputable sources. For health information about COVID-19, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov, your local healthcare provider, or your local 211 and 311 services, if available.
- The national Disaster Distress Helplineis available to anyone experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a caring counselor.
- If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or your local crisis line.
- For coping tools and resources, visit the Lifeline website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or Vibrant Emotional Health’s Safe Space at vibrant.org/safespace.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline has highly trained advocates available 24/7 to ensure services and continue to support survivors.
Reliable sources of information about COVID-19:
Other Helpful Resources to Support Your Mental and Emotional Wellbeing:
- CDC’s “Manage Anxiety and Stress”page provides what stress can look like and tips to manage that stress.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a guide for parents and caregivers to help families cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Mental Health America has compiled a range of resources and information on their “Mental Health and COVID-19” page.
- ThriveNYC’s “Mental Health Support New Yorkers Can Access While Staying Home” page lists free mental health services for New Yorkers, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status.
- SAMHSA’s “Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks” page outlines the signs of stress and steps you can take to alleviate stress.
- SAMHSA’s “Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health” page provides tips for social distancing, quarantine and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak.
- SAMHSA’s “Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks” page provides parents, caregivers, and teachers with strategies for helping children manage their stress during an infectious disease outbreak.
- Vibrant Emotional Health’s Safe Space provides interactive coping tools to help users when they need it.
- Through stories of hope and recovery, Strength After highlights the resilience of individuals and communities while providing a resource for other survivors and responders that may be trying to cope and move forward themselves.
- If you feel you or someone you know may need emotional support, please visit the Lifeline’s website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org for helpful resources or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is free, confidential, and available to everyone in the U.S. You do not have to be suicidal to call the Lifeline.
- The NYS Office of Mental Health’s “Managing Anxiety in an Anxiety Provoking Situation” resource page provides tips for all on how to manage anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.
- If you’re worried that someone in your life may be suicidal, you can use the Lifeline’s 5 steps to help someone that may be in suicidal crisis.
- Action Alliance’s COVID-19 Messaging Guidance page provides guidance for messengers speaking about mental health and COVID-19, as well as resources for specific groups.
- The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has compiled a selection of web pages and information sheets on mental health and coping with the effects of COVID-19.
- The Dulwich Centre has compiled stories to support the community amid the COVID-19 crisis, from mental health service users, survivors and former patients.
- The Action Alliance is mobilizing diverse sectors to collectively lead a coordinated mental health and suicide prevention response effort during and in the aftermath of COVID-19. Learn more here.
- Another helpful resource we recommend is the American Association of Suicidology, to visit their website here.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741 7