Valley Behavioral HealthValley Behavioral Health

by Julie Rael

3 women with arms around one another

Today, a Utah father will take his own life due to untreated mental illness. (A suicide takes place every 16 hours in our state, totaling 10 suicides a week.)

Today, a teen will think that death is the only way out of his or her troubles in school. (Suicide is the leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 17.)

Today, a young woman in Utah will attempt suicide due to an unhappy break up with her love interest. (Intimate partner problems are a key trigger for suicide in young adults 18 – 24.)

And, today marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, September 8 – 14, an important time to remember that although more adult Utahns have pondered or attempted suicide than anywhere else in the country, we all can make a difference in someone’s life who may be contemplating suicide. Please take a moment to learn about common suicide warning signs, and the actions you can take to prevent them. Otherwise, please call us to learn more about suicidal ideation treatment in Utah.

How To Help A Loved One Who Is Suicidal

You might feel powerless to change someone’s mind, but if an acquaintance, friend or family member is talking about suicide, take them seriously. Talk to them, listen, give them hope and encourage them to get help. You might be nervous talking with someone threatening suicide, but research shows that openly discussing it doesn’t increase the risk. Engaging them in a conversation about it may ease their anxiety and help them feel less isolated.

Suicide Warning Signs

Look for these clues that your loved one may be contemplating taking his or her own life:

  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Increased substance abuse
  • They say “I have no reason to live”
  • Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or constantly sleeping
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from everyone
  • Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out
  • Having uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting recklessly

Emergency Suicidal Threats

If you know anyone who is doing any of the following, call 911, the suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or take them to a hospital emergency room:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking about doing so 
  • Looking for ways to take their own lives such as firearms, pills or other means 
  • Atypically talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

Understanding Suicidal Ideation Triggers

It’s also helpful to know what triggers suicidal thoughts, so we can reduce the risk in our circle of peers. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, some people are at risk due to past trauma or abuse, physical and mental illness, a family history of suicide, and alcohol or substance abuse. Life events such as losing a job, financial loss or a breakup with a partner can all play a role. Also, local clusters of suicide can be contagious. School districts are particularly aware of this risk factor among youth and are on high alert during those unfortunate circumstances. Lack of social support and isolation increase risk as well.

Sadly, seeking mental health counseling carries a stigma that may prevent some from getting help. Valley Behavioral Health understands that and is working to dispel the notion. In truth, mental illness is a neurobiological or psychological condition that’s really no different than having diabetes or arthritis.  We are available to help people struggling with suicidal thoughts and their loved ones get the help they need. Please contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our understanding, specially trained, mental health professionals. They can guide you through a process that will bring hope and emotional stability.

In the meantime, let’s all do our best to keep strong ties with our families and friends, support one another, talk to each other and learn more about suicide prevention this week. All these things can protect our loved ones from doing the unthinkable.

julier
About julier