Suicide is not a word that most people are comfortable with. There’s a stigma and lack of understanding around it. New facts were just released by the CDC showing a steady increase in suicide rates over the past 15 years. It’s time for some honest talk about suicide.
Part of my counseling education has involved work at a crisis hotline. I have received dozens of training hours for suicide prevention. I have personally talked with many people struggling with thoughts of suicide.
Some call the hotline because they have no support in their life. Others call because it’s the only way they can talk freely about these thoughts. Still others call because they are afraid. They do not really want to die and need help seeing other options.
There is hope. Suicide prevention strategies are backed by data saying it saves lives. The Action Alliance reports “for every one person who tragically dies by suicide in the U.S., there are approximately 278 people who have moved past serious thoughts about killing themselves, and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt.” For stories of hope and recovery visit: lifelineforattemptsurvivors.org
So what can you do to help?
2. Ask openly and directly – “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
3. You may fear the question will put the idea into a person’s head. If you have thought to ask, it’s almost guaranteed the person has already considered it. They may actually feel relief to be able to talk about it.
4. You may be afraid of offending someone with the question. Honestly, the best case scenario is that you’re wrong and the person becomes upset with you. OK. That will pass.
5. What if they say yes? You aren’t an expert and may need help handling this. You or your loved ones can use the following FREE resources:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
• Crisis Text Line: text START to 741-741
• KUTO Crisis Helpline (Kids Under Twenty One): 1-888-644-5886 (4-10 p.m CST)
• LGBTQ crisis intervention: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
• Trans Lifeline (for transgender callers): 1-877-565-8860
• Feeling Kinda Blue social network
Other resources for suicide prevention information:
Mental health affects all of us. Educate. Share. Talk. Ask the question.
If you or someone you know would benefit from counseling, please contact Chrysalis Healing Collaborative: firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-395-8505.