It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide is promoting ways that you can make a difference.
Lisa Brattain, area director for Indiana and Ohio, says one way is to know the warning signs, “Warning signs for suicide can be talk, behavior, and mood. People that are contemplating taking their own life can just directly say they’re planning on killing themselves or ‘you all would be better off if I’m no longer here’ or just feelings of hopelessness and not having a reason to live, feeling like they’re a burden to others, feeling trapped.”
Warning signs can also include changes in behavior, like increased alcohol or drug use, aggression, fatigue, or depression. Brattain says it’s important to ask people directly if they are considering suicide and that anyone could be the one to help someone, “On top of that, always assume you’re the only person that’s going to reach out because if you’re waiting for someone else to do it, that other someone else may never come along, and then you’ve missed an opportunity to help someone that was at risk.”
She says suicide is the only one of the 10 leading causes of death trending upward, and that it was a major issue in Indiana in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, “We had 940 deaths by suicide in the Hoosier State, and that’s more than triple the number of homicides. In Indiana, roughly, a youth dies by suicide every four days; someone dies by suicide every two-and-a-half days.”
People can also help by taking part in one of the foundation’s Out of the Darkness walks, which raise awareness and money for suicide prevention. The South Bend Walk is this Sunday at Howard Park. There are also walks in Monticello and Chesterton September 20.
For more information, visit www.afsp.org.
If you know someone who needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273 TALK.