Sadly, suicide is not rare in this country. Many people feel the only way out of a horrible situation is to end it all. What’s worse is how suicide has a terrible impact on the survivors. Many friends and family members will struggle with the death, wondering if they somehow could have helped.
There are ways you can help prevent suicide in someone you love. While it’s ultimately the responsibility of the person who takes their own life, there are some things you can do to help.
If you know someone who is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This number is staffed 24/7 by professionals trained to help in these dire circumstances. Read on to learn more about how you can help.
Emergency Resources For Right Now
Calling the Lifeline is most likely the best thing you can do right now, but there are other ways to help someone who is feeling suicidal. If you think your friend will hurt themselves any minute, call your local emergency room for immediate help.
Some people have trouble explaining their suicidal thoughts to a person verbally. It can be embarrassing or painful to admit. That’s why there are text and chat versions of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You or the person you are trying to help can contact them online and speak with professionals at any time of day or night.
You can also contact different groups for more specific help. Veterans can send a text 838255 for help geared to those who served in the military, while people who have suicidal thoughts related to sexual assault can call 1-800-656-4673 for the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Suicide Is More Prevalent Than Most Realize
You might think that no one you know is thinking about suicide. That could be true, but it’s likely that someone in your life has had suicidal thoughts at one point or another.
Western Michigan University has analyzed the statistics about suicide.
- People of all ages, races, and backgrounds can think about suicide.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
- Over 100 Americans take their own lives every day.
- Once someone tries to commit suicide, they’re more likely to try again.
DoSomething.org reports that teenagers and people 24-35 years old have even higher rates of suicide, and more than 50% of suicides involve a firearm.
Long-Term Suicide Prevention Tips
Being aware of how common suicide is can help you realize the need for suicide prevention. There are more ways you can help besides calling the right people. For long-term suicide prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health has several tips:
- Ask if someone is having suicidal thoughts.
- Reduce that person’s access to any lethal items like guns.
- Be there and listen to the person.
- Stay connected with the person, including being literally by their side.
You also need to be looking for signs of substance abuse. People in so much pain that suicide seems reasonable are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol. Although these provide a temporary respite from the pain, they also increase the risk of suicide by altering perceptions and decision-making.
You Can Save Someone’s Life
Again, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if someone you know is having suicidal thoughts. But they aren’t the only ones who can help. Once you accept that many people can think about suicide, you can start using the long-term suicide prevention tips above to help just about anyone in your life.