For decades, suicide was not something to be talked about by families and friends affected by the devastating loss.
Because of this and the stigma attached to mental illness, we learned too late that those who chose suicide were afraid to confide in others as well. Or maybe they felt there was no one in whom they could confide.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and licensed caregivers from Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital on the campus of Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox want those affected by thoughts of suicide or the loss of a loved one to know that they are not alone, and help is only a call away.
“Here at Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital, we strive to provide resources to individuals, family members, friends, and the community for addressing mental health conditions and improving quality of life. We are dedicated to meeting the behavioral health and substance abuse needs in the community,” says Scott Hullinger, Chief Executive Officer, Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital.
According to the World Health Organization, suicide is among the three leading causes of death for those aged 15-44 and second-leading cause of death in those 10-24 years of age. Experts also say lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. Transgender adults are nearly 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
With nearly 1.4 million Americans attempting suicide annually, this accounts on average for nearly 132 Americans dying by suicide each day.
Everyone has unique experiences throughout their lives, and these experiences affect everyone differently. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), knowing the signs of suicide and being able to recognize them can successfully prevent an attempt. These signs can include, but are not limited to:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in activities
- Feelings of hopelessness/helplessness
- Talking about death or suicide
- Extreme mood swings
- Saying goodbye to family and friends
Suicide is preventable even if it does not feel like it. Being an advocate for those in need can make all the difference. There is a lot that each of us can do to prevent suicide. Some of the things that you can do to help may include:
- Seek help for your loved one if you are worried
- Respond to crisis quickly
- Offer support and help
- Keep them safe
- Stay connected
Suicide is an attempt to escape suffering that can feel unbearable. Despite the individual’s desire for the pain to stop, most individuals that have or experience suicidal thoughts or attempts, feel deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. This major public health concern can be complicated and tragic. However, we know this can be preventable. Knowing the warning signs and how to help can save lives.
NAMI offers these informational resources:
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
- Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
As a community service, Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital offers free mental health assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 844-580-5000 or walk-in anytime.