If you or someone else needs help, call the RESOURCE LINE 988, Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
In this blog, we will discuss some topics related to suicide prevention, including risk factors, criminalization and stigma, mental health, and help resources. For additional information like facts and warning signs, I want to invite you to read the blog by Jeremiah Sargeant: “Suicide Prevention – What You Need to Know All Year Long.”
Creating Hope For Those Who Need it Through Awareness, Support, and Action
There is a collective need to address suicide as an urgent public health issue. This important subject should remain open to everyone, including family, friends, co-workers, educators, health care professionals, and lawmakers. Most of the time, suicide can be prevented with the proper support and guidance. Awareness is key to providing the levels of support and guidance needed to prevent suicide.
One of the most significant gaps we need to start filling is increasing awareness and reducing stigma. The last generation has been doing fantastic work by speaking loud about mental health, healing, and support. However, we still have a lot of work to do to engage all ages and social statuses in the conversation.
Understanding The Risk Factors Is One of the Keys To Preventing Suicide
In addition to the risk factors mentioned in the blog “Suicide Prevention – What You Need to Know All Year Long”, there are many other risk factors for suicide, and it is vital to be aware of them for prevention. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Depression or other mental illness: Depression is the most common mental disorder associated with suicide, but other mental disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance abuse can also lead to suicide.
- Hopelessness: People who feel hopeless may see suicide as their only way out of their situation.
- Isolation: People who are isolated may not have anyone to turn to for help or support.
- Previous suicide attempt: People who have attempted suicide are much more likely to try it again.
- Access to firearms: Firearms are the most common method of suicide, and they are much more likely to be fatal than other methods.
- Family history of suicide: Having a family member who has committed suicide is a risk factor for suicide. This may be due to genetic factors or exposure to suicidal behavior.
- Stressful life events: Experiencing stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, financial problems, or relationship difficulties can increase the risk of suicide.
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse: Having an unsafe environment leads to the feeling of running away from home or committing suicide to escape from painful environments.
- Substance abuse disorder: People who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to attempt or commit suicide.
- Being in prison or jail: Incarcerated people are at a higher risk of suicide. This is due to the stress of being in prison, the isolation from family and friends, and the lack of support.
Advocate For Support And Well-Being For Those Who Need It Most
Suicide was considered an offense in many countries, and that’s why in the 19th century, most countries criminalized suicide or suicidal behaviors. Nowadays, it’s a symptom of a person experiencing mental health distress, despair, and socioeconomic or public health problems. However, there are 25 countries where suicide is still criminalized. Those who support penalizing suicide still argue that legal punishments can deter suicidal acts, serve as a social condemnation of unacceptable behaviors and ensure justice is done.
However, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has shown that criminalizing suicide isn’t reducing the rates; it’s increasing them. This is because criminalization promotes social stigma, more barriers to obtaining adequate mental healthcare, reduced access to emergency medical services, and limited suicide prevention activities.
What helps to reduce suicide rates is to improve the well-being of this vulnerable population by doing the opposite of restricting. We must support, listen, accompany, provide adequate mental healthcare, and give more access to medical services and suicide prevention activities.
Boosting Mental Health Is the Best Way To Fight Against Suicide
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk of many physical health problems, particularly stable conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. As mentioned above, depression is also one of the risk factors for a person to commit suicide.
The Internet is full of options to boost mental health. From sleep quality, being physically active, meditation or relaxation skills, socializing with the people you love, breaking up the monotony, etc. However, this advice is beneficial, but depending on the situation, it can be superficial and doesn’t dig into all the reasons that can deteriorate people’s mental health.
Finding Help: Resources And Information That Could Save a Life
Suicide warmlines are the best tool to look for help and hear a friendly voice. Warmlines provide a phone number you call to talk with someone who can support you. For those who struggle with suicidal thoughts,warmlines help by providing someone to talk to that understands and is non-judgemental. They help by lending an ear when people are going through a difficult time in their lives. Whether you’re in crisis or need someone to talk to, a warmline can help. Suicide warmlines are staffed by trained peers who have been through mental health struggles of their own, and they know what it’s like to need help. You can check the suicide warmlines for your State by clicking HERE.
If you are in crisis and a hotline can’t provide the level of support you need, the next step is to call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or using the chat box at 988lifeline.org. You can also text “MHA” to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.
In addition, for individuals and families facing mental and substance use disorders. SAMHSA‘s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish).
This blog is purely informative and does not take the place of getting professional help and medical advice. It is also a reminder for you or anyone you know who is having a hard time and may need help. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, be sure to contact your mental health provider or call 911. Please remember, you are not alone!