According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States, with approximately one suicide every 11 minutes.
In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, Aspirus Health aims to raise awareness about the often stigmatized topic of suicide and educate people about how to prevent it.
“Suicide is preventable and does not require special training to help loved ones in meaningful ways,” says Dr. Desire Christensen, a psychiatrist at Aspirus Behavioral Health in Stevens Point. She said, “Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, show compassion, and support others who may be going through difficult times.”
If someone is at risk of suicide, look out for warning signs such as:
- talk about being a burden
- be isolated
- increased anxiety
- talk about feeling trapped and excruciating pain
- Increased substance use
- Seeking a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- extreme mood swings
- express despair
- too little sleep or too much sleep
- Talking or posting that you want to die
- make a plan to commit suicide
“If a person is struggling with suicidal ideation, the involvement of a mental health professional is recommended to assess the underlying diagnosis that may contribute to this risk,” says Dr. Christensen. “For example, ADHD is one of the most common mental health diagnoses among young people. Most people do not associate this diagnosis with suicidal ideation, but individuals with ADHD are more likely to have suicidal thoughts5. twice as likely and twice as likely to attempt suicide.Treatment for ADHD has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of suicide.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with behavioral or mental health issues, Aspirus Health’s team of mental health professionals can help. For more information, please visit www.aspirus.org/behavioralhealth.
People who are in danger or are contemplating suicide, and who know someone who is in danger, should contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained crisis counselor. I can. Call or text 988 or use chat on 988lifeline.org. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7.
If you need more urgent crisis intervention support for yourself or a loved one, call 911 and go to the nearest Aspirus hospital and emergency room.