September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a campaign that promotes suicide education and awareness. In the United States, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the fourth-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Thanks to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, people can learn about suicide and identify the warning signs of suicide in themselves and others. Plus, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month materials are available to teach people what to do when a loved one is suicidal.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports suicide rates in the United States have increased between 2001 and 2017. However, people who understand the warning signs and risk factors of suicide can help lower these rates.
Common warning signs associated with suicide include:
- Increased use of drugs and/or alcohol
- Feelings of depression, hopelessness, guilt, and/or shame
- Sleeping too much or insomnia
- Giving away cherished possessions
- Isolation from activities that an individual previously enjoyed
- Feeling trapped
- Feeling like a burden to others
There are also risk factors linked to suicide, such as:
- Mental health conditions like schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and/or bipolar disorder
- Traumatic brain injury
- Physical health conditions
- Living in an environment where bullying frequently occurs
- Relationship problems
- Stressful life events like a divorce or the death of a loved one
- History of childhood abuse and/or other trauma
- Family history of suicide
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek out help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7, and it ensures that individuals can receive emotional support and other services from counselors across the United States. In an emergency, when you think someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately.
What to Do When a Loved One Is Suicidal
If a loved one is suicidal, it can be difficult to find the right way to support them. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help a loved one who is suicidal, including:
1. Assess the Situation
Ask your loved one if he or she is considering suicide in a gentle, but straightforward way. Evaluate the urgency of the situation, and if they have a plan to kill themselves and the intention of carrying it out, call 911 immediately. When it comes to suicide, it is always better to err on the side of caution.
2. Listen Without Judgment
If a loved one wants to share his or her thoughts and feelings, listen with empathy. In this situation, do not judge what a loved one has to say. Instead, maintain an open mind and try to remain calm and patient. Although you may not understand exactly what a loved one is going through, serving as an active listener can make a difference in his or her life.
3. Provide Reassurance
Suicidal thoughts are often associated with a treatable mental illness, and you can share this insight with a loved one who is suicidal. You can also let this loved one know that many people experience suicidal thoughts, but are able to fully recover and lead happy lives again with the right care.
4. Promote Professional Help
If a loved one appears to be a threat to themselves or others, call 911. Encourage them to talk with a counselor about their suicidal thoughts, and to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get immediate help for free. Once the immediate danger of suicide has passed, work with your loved one to find local counselors and doctors who can help them find the appropriate treatment.
5. Offer Support Strategies
Encourage your loved one to think about support strategies that they have used in the past. For example, if they found comfort in spending time with family members and friends, they can rely on these individuals for support going forward. You can also encourage them to try out new ways to cope with suicidal thoughts. If you feel comfortable, share ways that you cope with mental health issues or challenging situations.
Depression Is Common Among Suicide Victims
Approximately 25 million Americans experience depression symptoms annually, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports. Additionally, over 50% of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depressive disorder.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it is crucial to note that treatment options are available. In fact, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) therapy is a revolutionary treatment for severe depression that has been shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms.
dTMS therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses to stimulate underactive areas of the brain that cause depression symptoms. It offers several benefits over antidepressant medications and other traditional depression treatments, including:
- Noninvasive Nature: dTMS therapy patients can undergo treatment without having to worry about electrical shocks, anesthesia, or pain dTMS can be used in combination with your existing medication routine, or as a stand-alone treatment.
- No Side Effects: dTMS therapy does not cause weight gain or loss, decreased sex drive, or other side effects commonly associated with traditional depression therapies.
- Fast and Effective Treatment: A dTMS therapy session lasts 20 minutes, and patients can resume their normal activities immediately after treatment. Approximately 49% of patients experience complete remission of symptoms following TMS and 70% report a favorable response.
Achieve TMS is a leading provider of dTMS therapy in the United States, and we are happy to work with you to create a treatment plan specific to your needs. To schedule a dTMS therapy consultation with Achieve TMS, please contact us online or call us at 877-909-8595.