According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental health condition. While half of all mental health conditions begin by the age of 14, the majority are undetected and untreated (World Health Organization). This equates to millions of Americans who face the reality of living with a mental illness each day. While conditions range from managing worries concerning everyday life to chronic conditions like severe depression; each impact how someone thinks, feels and behaves.
In addition to the opioid epidemic, Dr. Joe Parks with the National Council for Behavioral Health encourages awareness around the suicide epidemic. As the nation’s suicide rate continues to rise, it’s imperative we address it. By understanding the warning signs and asking if someone has thoughts of suicide, you can become part of the solution.
While it’s possible to heal thoughts of suicide, for some, the thoughts periodically resurface. Whether the individual encounters a failure, loss or just an awful day, harmful thinking patterns can reappear regardless of how much healing has occurred. While we often bear little control over our thoughts, we can control our actions.
To help spread awareness, a brave Netsmart associate shares how her son continues to face his past with suicide on CareThreads. Through open discussion, support and the recognition of an individual’s triggers, once perceived unmanageable thoughts can be managed. It is possible to live alongside suicide.
It’s time for another edition of Meet the Clinicians! In the series we highlight one of our many talented associates and the unique clinical perspective they bring to Netsmart and our clients.
If you’re concerned for someone’s safety after reading the warning signs of suicide, have a conversation with them. While discussing suicide may be difficult and overwhelming, dialogue could be the very thing that helps prevent it. With a topic as important as someone’s life, we collectively need to become more comfortable engaging in conversations about suicide.
Outlined below are items to consider when speaking to someone with suicidal thoughts. Each point offers direction to help you feel comfortable initiating and furthering the discussion.
Suicide is not an easy topic to discuss. It’s scary, uncomfortable and incredibly sensitive. But if you suspect someone is considering suicide, initiating a conversation is crucial. As nationwide deaths by suicide continue to rise, increasing awareness needs to be a priority. Individuals with suicidal intentions often exhibit observable warning signs. Your ability to recognize these signs could help save a life. Speak up, reach out and educate yourself so you can help someone in need. Here are a few warning sign examples.
Consider these facts: Nearly one in five people will experience a mental health condition this year, yet less than half will receive treatment. Mood disorders, like depression and bipolar, are the third most common cause of hospitalization. Suicides have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades. In Kansas and Missouri suicide rates are up 45 and 36 percent, respectively.* Among teens in our area, it has become the second leading cause of death.
The question for all of us becomes: How can we work together to reduce these numbers and improve an individual’s mental health and wellness?