A man in his early 50s who lost his job. A woman facing a difficult medical diagnosis.
People like these two individuals facing seemingly insurmountable life problems are contemplating suicide right at this moment. They see no way out other than not being alive anymore.
It’s precisely then, in their deepest moment of trouble, that someone with knowledge of what signs of suicide look like is the most important.
This is Suicide Prevention Week across the country. Here in our own back yard, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Warren and Clinton Counties – along with our prevention staff here at Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren & Clinton Counties – is working to educate more residents about the warning signs of suicide and what they can do to help.
Since 2001, 304 Warren County residents and 67 Clinton County residents have died by suicide, according to statistics from each county’s health department. There have also been countless suicide attempts. Nationally, it’s estimated that 3 females attempt suicide for every 1 male attempt.
And for young people age 15-24, that number skyrockets. The Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly 18 percent of students in grades 9 -12 reported seriously considering suicide in the previous 12 months.
In Clinton County, the most recent PRIDE Survey found nearly 8 percent of students taking the survey reported having thought about suicide “often” or “a lot”. A smaller percentage of Warren County students taking the survey – 11.3 percent – reported the same thoughts.
But no matter whether a teenager or adult, one person lost to, or even thinking about, suicide is one too many. Suicide is preventable. We as a community need to understand the warning signs and step in to talk with those family members and friends to help them see life is worth it
To that end, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) says people should watch for these signs of potential suicide, no matter how old a person is:
• A change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors
• Talk of being a burden to others, feeling trapped, experiencing unbearable pain, or having no reason to live
• Increased use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting recklessly
• Isolating themselves from family and friends
• Withdrawing from school or family activities
• Sleeping a lot
• Mood changes like depression, or loss of interest, rage or irritability
If you notice any of these signs, reach out to them to let them know they have worth. Encourage them to reach out for help.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Crisis Hotline at 513-695-6333 or use the Crisis Text Line by texting “4hope” to 741741. There is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Let’s help each other through our most difficult times. We’re all worth it.
Brent Lawyer is Executive Director of Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren & Clinton Counties.