How you can help prevent suicide

By Pam Daniel - Contributing columnist

Every year thousands of individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss.

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts should not be considered normal. Like any other health emergency, it’s important to address a mental health crisis like suicide quickly and effectively.

Warning signs of suicide may include withdrawal from friends, family, and community. Dramatic mood swings, aggressive, impulsive or reckless behavior can also be warning signs.

Other signs could be increase in alcohol or drug use. Seek immediate help from a health care provider or call 911 if you see the signs.

Research has found that 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. Other suicide risk factors include a family history of suicide, substance abuse, intoxication, access to firearms, and a serious or chronic medical illness.

Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide. A history of trauma or abuse, prolonged stress and a recent tragedy or loss may also increase the risk of suicide.

If your friend or family member struggles with suicidal ideation, let them know that they can talk with you about what they’re going through.

Talk openly and honestly. This can help your loved one feel heard and validated. Let them know that mental health professionals are available and trained to help people understand their feelings and improve mental wellness and resiliency.

Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other — they can be treated, and they can improve over time.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line. Suicide is not the answer. There is hope.

For more information about suicide or other mental health issues go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website

The Clinton County Health District is providing immunizations by appointment only. To make an appointment call 937-382-3829.

The Clinton County Health District strives to improve Clinton County by preventing disease, promoting health, and protecting the environment.

Pam Daniel is Health Educator for the Clinton County Health District.

By Pam Daniel

Contributing columnist