• October 17, 2019

Suicide: A Taboo Topic - Odessa American: Opinions

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Suicide: A Taboo Topic

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Posted: Monday, September 16, 2019 9:45 am

The topic of suicide is often avoided; it can be uncomfortable to discuss, and there is a stigma attached. However, in light of suicide prevention month, it is important to be aware of statistics, signs, and how to reach out.

The breakdown:

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death for middle, high school, and college age youth (ages 12-22). As reported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, for the overall population of the United States.

Common signs:

Common warnings signs that someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts are talking about wanting to die, sudden mood changes, feeling hopeless, giving away possessions, or feeling a lack of purpose. Threats of suicide should always be taken seriously.

Taking action:

If you are thinking about reaching out to a friend or loved one, prepare what you are going to say, approach them when you have plenty of time, and be prepared that they may confirm thoughts of suicide. State the changes in behavior you have noticed and ask about suicide directly so there is no confusion in communication. Some people fear that asking about suicide directly will give the other person the idea; this only adds to the stigma associated with suicide. Be there to listen, reassure them, and meet them where they are. If you have a list of resources offer that or offer to look for resources together. Finally, make a plan together, who can they call during these times, and will they give you a verbal commitment not to harm themselves at least until meeting with a professional?

Suicide is a difficult topic to approach. However, by making yourself available, it can show someone else that talking about mental health doesn’t have to be shameful. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are available: 1-800-273-8255. For more information you can visit suicideispreventable.org. For local help call Samaritan Counseling Center at 432-563-4144.

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