September 02, 2016

Suicide Prevention: 15 Resources That Could Help Save a Life

couple at sunset

“Sometimes to win a battle inside, you need to start a war.” [1]

We have all struggled with an internal battle at one time or another. But everyone’s battles are different, and not everyone can fight them alone.

Most suicides are related to mental illnesses such as eating disorders. Suicide rates are 23 percent higher in those with eating disorders than in the general population.

But if you or a loved one are suffering, how can you make a difference?

Suicide Prevention Resources

  1. Know the warning signs and risk factors of suicide; suicide prevention starts with education and awareness,
  2. Increase your knowledge further with these educational resources from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
  3. Create a place of compassion and non-judgment; create a safe space. This animated RSA Short, with Dr. Brené Brown provides a great example of what this looks like.
  4. Work on being empathetic. Berkeley University Great Good Science Center beautifully lays the groundwork for strengthening our empathetic personalities. I believe this is essential as we strive to break the stigmas of mental illnesses.
  5. Take action. If you are, or if someone you know is, in crisis and needs immediate assistance, call 911. Here is an idea of what you/ the person in crisis can expect once you make that call.

Above all, trust in yourself, and know that you can make a difference.

Helping someone who may be suicidal

If someone you care about seems to not be doing well, be gentle and let them know that you are here to help. It’s okay to be direct and say something like, “It seems like you have been sad for a while now, have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?” If they say “yes,” do not try to handle this situation on your own.

A suicidal person needs immediate assistance from a qualified mental health professional. If someone is in danger, call 911 or encourage them to call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

They may need to you dial the phone for them. Be prepared to act.

What to say to someone in crisis

If they are not in immediate danger, and you need some ideas on what to say, try starting with these words:

  1. Dear friend, I know you are in pain.
  2. Please know that you are important and deserve help.
  3. You are loved and you have a life worth living.
  4. How can I support you?
  5. Who can you talk to about this?
  6. I know it can be scary, but there are professionals that can help.
  7. Have you thought about talking to a counselor?
  8. Call a suicide hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.
  9. If you are afraid that you might hurt yourself, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
  10. For those suffering with an eating disorder, call Eating Recovery Center for support at (877) 711-1796.

Like eating disorders, there is a stigma around suicide

Stigma drives feelings of shame and guilt, which is like putting a giant piece of tape across the mouth of anyone who is suffering. Shame silences them and sentences the individual to internal suffering.

Because of these stigmas, many people who are suffering do not seek help.

Break the silence by reaching out. I know that this can be really scary; your fears may even try to talk you out of it. Fear has a way of creating doubt within ourselves.

You may even think to yourself: there may be a chance that the person is not suicidal! But what if they are? Don’t let the fear of being wrong keep you from speaking up!

You are not responsible if someone you know commits suicide

However, you can make a difference in someone’s life by speaking up.

I encourage you to fight for yourself, and also to fight for those around you by educating others and raising awareness. Help us remove the stigma of mental illnesses and suicide.

Let us know if you need help. You can reach us at (877) 711-1796. Treatment for mental health issues is available.


[1] The Color Morale

- Shannon Braasch

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