What are the Best Ways to Prevent Suicide
Suicide is a leading cause of death for people ages 10-64. Some groups have higher suicide rates than others. For example, Americans who are at a higher risk for suicide are veterans, sexual miniorities, people who live in rural areas and workers in certain occupations.
The good news is that suicide is preventable. However, preventing suicide is a collaborative effort that involves all levels of society. Below you’ll find more information about the best ways to prevent suicide.
Also, starting July 16, the federally mandated crisis number, 988, will be available to all landline and cell phone users. Anyone who is suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and connected to a counselor. From here, they may receive crisis counseling, resources and referrals.
All counselors are trained to listen, understand and support those who call in. The goal of this suicide prevention hotline is to fill in the gaps in the behavioral health crisis continuum. You can learn more about this at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Know the Warning Signs of Suicide
There are some common misconceptions about suicide. As an example, when someone talks about committing suicide, their loved ones often believe that they would never do it. But almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning.
It’s important for people to know the warning signs of suicide so that they can spot them and take them seriously.
- Long-lasting sadness or moodiness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in personality or appearance
- Self-harming behavior
- Recent trauma or life crisis
- Making preparations
- Talking about suicide
Identify and Support People at Risk
Through research, we know that some people are more at risk for suicide than others. By identifying at-risk individuals, it’s possible to get them the help they need before they engage in any self-harming behaviors. This involves treatment for at-risk individuals, treatment to prevent re-attempts and crisis intervention.
Create Protective Environments
Protective environments are those that naturally protect a person from harming themselves. While this involves many levels, including government and health care, it can be extremely helpful in reducing suicidal behaviors. To create these safe, stable environments, it would involve things like:
- Deterring excessive alcohol use
- Removing lethal means of suicide
- Reducing unsafe media portrayals of suicide
- Reducing the stigma of mental illness
- Increasing access to mental health treatment
- Providing affordable behavioral home health services
Teach Coping and Problem Solving
Another prevention strategy is to teach coping and problem solving skills. These skills teach people how to deal with difficult situations and help them to become more resilient. This way, when a person does experience stressful situations, they’ll be better prepared to handle them. Social-emotional learning programs and parenting skills and family relationship programs are examples of behavioral interventions that can help.
Social connectedness is crucial to suicide prevention. Therefore, it’s important that at-risk individuals form positive social connections with others. Aside from the family unit itself, people who are at risk for suicide should have opportunities to be involved in the community and participate in peer norm programs. These programs are designed to offer “positive peer pressure.”
Strengthen Families from Within
Finally, it’s incredibly important for families to be strong from within. This involves many factors, such as strengthening household financial security, increasing coverage for mental health conditions and reducing shortages in underserved areas. Families should also be educated on how to be advocates for loved ones who have attempted suicide.
It is important to note that the vast majority of people who are depressed or attempt suicide do not die from suicide. Suicides only reflect a part of the problem. Significantly more people are hospitalized as a result of non-fatal suicide behavior than are fatally injured.
VNA Health Group Offers Behavioral Home Health Care
VNA Health Group is committed to offering superior health care services regardless of socioeconomic status. To learn more about our treatment services for behavioral disorders, contact us today.
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