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A Prevention Toolkit
According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people across the globe commit suicide every year. What can we do to curb this tragic statistic? One thing was can do is understand the link between Schizophrenia and suicide, and do some homework on what the mental illness is all about. Mypersonalrecoveryfromschizophrenia provides steps you can take if you’re concerned about someone you know hurting themselves.
If you’re worried a loved one may be considering suicide, step one is assessing how immediate the threat of self-harm is. Don’t beat around the bush — instead, ask these questions to find out if you need to call 911.
- Are you thinking of killing yourself? Asking directly if someone is thinking of suicide may be uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to get to bottom of the situation. If the answer is anything but a strong “No,” it’s time to dig deeper.
- What are you unhappy about? This may include work, among other things. Many things may factor into this malaise and discontent at the workplace, including boredom, stress and perfectionism.
- Are you using drugs or alcohol? Psychology Today notes that alcohol and drug abuse is one of the top risk factors for suicide, second only to mental health disorders. If your loved one is abusing substances, it can be a big indicator that they’re in danger.
- Do you have a plan? If someone not only has considered suicide but also has a plan for how they can do it, it’s time to be very concerned.
- Do you know when you’ll do it? On the surface, this may sound like an insensitive question. However, someone who is planning suicide may freely admit their timeframe for taking their life. If they do, you’ll have a better idea of how urgently you need to act.
- Do you have the means? If the person has a suicide plan, ask if they have the means to follow through on that plan. This could be access to prescription pills, a gun, or some other method. If someone has both a plan and the means, it’s time to call emergency services.
If the answer to all five of these questions is “Yes,” there’s no time to waste. Call 911 immediately. Emergency services will arrive to take the person to the nearest emergency room, where they’ll be evaluated by a mental health professional. Depending on the outcome, they may be referred to an inpatient facility for psychiatric treatment. If they’re deemed to be at imminent risk of suicide, they’ll be placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold at the hospital.
If the person is thinking of suicide but has yet to formulate a plan or acquire the means, a call to a crisis hotline is the best approach.
Call a Crisis Line
It can be frightening to know someone you care about is thinking of ending their life. Instead of trying to handle the situation on your own, turn to a suicide hotline. Trained staff and volunteers on the other end can help you find out what to say, what to do, and what resources to turn to in your region.
Try to convince your loved one to contact a crisis line themselves, too. A helpline can keep a suicidal person off the ledge while you wait for emergency services to arrive and they can be a valuable source of support when harmful thoughts reemerge later on. A person in crisis may find it easier to open up to a stranger than to a friend or family member whose judgment they fear, and the hotline worker will be able to quickly research mental health resources in your area.
No matter where in the U.S. you live, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline also has a Spanish language helpline (1-888-628-9454) and a TTY helpline for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (1-800-799-4889). They also have an online chat option for people who are struggling with their mental health and need someone to talk to.
Plan the Next Move
A person considering suicide has likely been dealing with mental health issues for a long time, and the problem doesn’t go away as soon as the threat of suicide has dissipated. To prevent self-harm and improve overall mental health, direct your loved one toward resources that can help them learn coping mechanisms and improve their well-being. This could mean therapy, medication, and tools for staying calm in high-stress moments, like an emotional support service dog. Whatever path forward they choose, be sure to continue to offer nonjudgmental support and a sympathetic ear.
Image via Pixabay
Thank you June Duncan, author and caregiver for this excellent article and toolkit. Feel free to write for my blog more. I think this is my favorite blog of all the almost 10 years of blogging due to my own experience of being suicidal, while wanting to live, but this would have been helpful for my loved ones in any case.
peace love light and joy to all of you
Feel free to reblog this insightful article. Let’s together spread this message of hope and love to all!