There are about 129 suicides in the US every day or about five per hour. Men die about 3.5 times more often than women by suicide. For every one person who dies by suicide, there were 25 suicide attempts.
For September, which is National Suicide Prevention Month, I’m going to share two lessons related to suicide awareness and prevention. They can help if someone in your life is thinking about committing suicide.
If you’re considering suicide, contact us at Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to connect with a caring person.
Lesson 1: Listen Without Judgement
In her talk Tedx video, “We need to talk about male suicide,” Steph Slack related her journey to becoming non-judgmental about suicidal thoughts. After her uncle, a doctor, died of suicide, she wished she could have talked with him about it first.
When a male friend of hers called her about his own suicide attempt, she was able to feel and act honored that he wanted to share his thoughts with her. She didn’t judge him or make him feel wrong for having those thoughts.
Why? Because she realized that we are constantly judged for our thoughts and feelings. She decided it’s natural to think suicidal thoughts, especially in response to painful circumstances.
A judgmental attitude won’t help another person change. Snap reactions will only drive him or her away. Instead, choose to show the other person that you are safe to talk to. Make the choice to help.
Lesson 2: Ask About Suicidal Thoughts or Plans
When someone is showing the warnings signs of wanting to commit suicide, if you want to help, you should ask that person directly and respectfully if he or she is thinking about it.
This shows that you care and are available to talk about what the person is going through. You may not be comfortable asking at first, but it’s far worse to avoid the issue and then lose someone. Treat it as an honor if someone is willing to confide in you.
Don’t ask if a person is thinking of “hurting” himself or herself. A suicidal person thinks that suicide will end the hurting. It’s better to ask about suicide more frankly.
If you believe you’re not equipped to talk about suicide with someone, you can also direct that person to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Suicide Prevention Help
If you or someone you know needs behavioral healthcare, you can go through our easy admissions process at Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare. We have both inpatient and outpatient services for behavioral and chemical challenges. Contact us today.
Until next time, in everything you do—CARE.