Suicide Risk + Prevention

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Suicide Statistics in the United States

Suicide statistics reveal a continuing public health crisis in the U.S.; it’s expected to get worse as an indirect result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control: 

  • An estimated 1.3 million Americans attempt suicide each year.
  • The suicide rate in the United States has increased every year since 2006.
  • More than 20 percent of those who die by suicide let others know of their plans. 
  • At least 50 percent of those who die by suicide have a known mental health condition, though the actual number is likely higher.

Behavioral health conditions — such as trauma, substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety — can increase the likelihood of suicide. In addition, traumatic life events or situations (such as job loss, divorce, death in the family, bullying, or abuse) can raise the risk of suicide, as can chronic pain and/or illness, access to lethal means like firearms, and previous suicide attempt(s).

Signs and Symptoms of Suicide Risk

The one thing to know: Suicide is preventable. Everyone should be aware of suicide risk factors and warning signs, so it’s possible to intervene and avoid tragedy. The markers of suicide risk can be emotional, verbal, and/or behavioral. 

Emotional indications that someone is at risk of suicide can include shame and humiliation, anger, irritability, anxiety, feeling depressed, mood swings, and lack of interest in favorite activities.

Verbal signs may involve the individual commenting directly about killing themselves or not wanting to exist. Or they may make more passive comments, instead of describing feelings of being a burden, being stuck, or feeling like life has no worth or purpose. 

Behavioral signs can indicate that the individual has developed a plan to kill themselves. These signs should be taken seriously. They can include isolation from friends or family, lack of communication, increased aggression, worsening substance abuse, researching or reading about suicide, reckless behavior, writing a will or giving away prized possessions, and planning a funeral.

Get Help for Suicidal Thoughts

Now is the time to be direct. Ask whether or not the person has a plan to kill themselves. If so, get help immediately. You can take them to the nearest hospital, or you can call behavioral health professionals. At Niznik Behavioral Health, our staff has extensive experience and training to help people who are in crisis. We’re on call 24/7. And we can help.

Will the individual be offended that you asked such a personal question? Will the conversation be uncomfortable? Perhaps. But your concern may help to save a life. Here are some suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control that can help you know what to do if someone you care about is at significant risk of suicide. 

  • Ask directly if they have a plan for suicide
  • If you can, remove access to firearms, pills, and any other lethal means
  • Don’t panic or lecture. Simply listen and offer support 
  • Connect them right away to professional help or other support
  • Stay connected to them, and let them know you’re there for them

If you are someone you love is in danger of suicide, please don’t wait. Call Niznik Behavioral Health right now. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let’s talk now. 

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