Suicide is a difficult subject. Not only is there a lot of misunderstanding about suicide, but myths about why people choose suicide and who is at risk are pervasive. September is Suicide Prevention Month and a good time to review some facts about suicide and ways to prevent it.
Suicide remains the tenth leading cause of death in Georgia and the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24. Although many people assume that someone who commits suicide has a mental illness, not all suicide deaths are the result of mental health issues.
Some see suicide as a weak or selfish act – and believe that anyone who talks about or threatens to commit suicide is only doing so to get attention. Such an attitude not only lacks compassion but can increase misunderstanding; it can also be harmful to people who have survived a suicide attempt or have a family member who has committed suicide. This is also not correct.
If you want to assess your own understanding of suicide, consider the following myths and facts.
Myth: No one can stop a suicide; It’s inevitable.
Do: If people in crisis get the help they need, they may never be suicidal again.
Myth: Asking someone to kill themselves will only make them angry and increase the risk of suicide.
Do: Asking someone about their suicidal intent directly reduces anxiety, opens up communication, and reduces the risk of a suicide attempt.
Myth: Only experts can prevent suicide.
Do: Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and anyone can help prevent suicide.
Myth: People who contemplate suicide keep their plans to themselves.
Do: Most people who contemplate suicide communicate their intention within a week of their attempt.
Myth: People who talk about suicide don’t.
Do: People who talk about suicide can often attempt to do so.
Myth: Once a person decides to attempt suicide, there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.
Do: Suicide is the most preventable type of death, and almost any positive action can save a life.
We know that even if people have been planning their suicide for some time, their decision to act on those plans is often made quickly and in a crisis situation. The fact is that people don’t end their lives because they don’t want to live, but often because they want to end what is for them an unbearable and hopeless situation.
If you want to learn more about how you can help prevent suicide, Highland Rivers Behavioral Health offers Question, Persuader, Refer (QPR) training that teaches students, teachers, parents, clinicians and community members how to help to prevent suicide. QPR training can be scheduled at your location or you can attend other trainings in the area. The 60 to 90 minute training is available free of charge and includes:
• How to interview, persuade and refer someone who is thinking about suicide.
• How to get help for yourself and learn more about suicide prevention.
• Common causes of suicidal behavior.
• Warning signs of suicide.
• How to get help for someone in crisis.
For more information or to schedule QPR training for your organization, contact Highland Rivers at ZeroSuicide@highlandrivers.org.
It is imperative that everyone knows what to do if you come across someone who is thinking about self-harm. If connecting with a professional therapist would benefit you or a loved one, contact Highland Rivers at (800) 729-5700.
Outside of business hours, the Georgia Crisis and Access Line, (800) 715-4225 (or use the myGCAL app) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-TALK (8255), are available 24 hours a day. 24; both can now be reached by calling 988. Other resources include the Crisis text line 741-741 and The Trevor Project (866) 488-7386; text 678678.
Suicide is preventable and the more you know, the more likely you are to help someone struggling with self-harm, the more likely you are to help save someone’s life.
Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in a 13-county region. of northwestern Georgia which includes Murray and Whitfield. counties.