I want to preface this email by saying that suicide is a sensitive topic and can evoke strong feelings. Therefore, please take care of yourselves.
In honor of Suicide Awareness Month, I wanted to stop by to check in on my Sup-HERos.
My hope is that this email will provide insight pertaining to one of the leading causes of death in the United States, suicide. Additionally, my hope is that you will complete a self-inventory to assess your mental health followed by reaching out to someone to complete a mental health check in. My friends and I sometimes schedule times to speak via phone to talk about our overall health. For those who may have limited time, this may be a brief call to/from work or a text message to assess how high the other person is kicking. With check-ins you can be flexible. The goal is to simply check-in on one another as people want to feel heard and be seen.
Suicide is when a person intentionally causes one's own death. Attempted suicide is an intentional effort to die by suicide that does not result in one's death. In my opinion, suicide has no boundaries. Anyone can be impacted by suicide. Some risk factors for suicide include trauma, loss, change, chronic stress, poor physical health, substance abuse and mental illness. This list is not all encompassing. Please check the resources below for further information.
Warning signs may consist of severe changes in thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Warning signs may be direct or indirect. These changes may include feelings of hopelessness, talking about killing oneself, talking in past tense, giving away prized possessions, poor self-care, withdrawn behavior, increased drug or alcohol use. Please remember some individuals may display one or more warning signs. No one is the same. Trust your judgment. If you are concerned, ask directly. I know the thought of assessing for suicide can be uncomfortable, but I encourage you to take a deep breath, put your shoulders back, appear confident and state: I’m concerned about you, are you thinking about killing yourself? If yes, you want to obtain details regarding a plan (when, method, etc). A “no” doesn’t necessarily mean less severe or less risk, I encourage all concerns to be taken into consideration. A safety plan is encouraged. A safety plan is a document that will help increase one’s awareness of warning signs or triggers that a crisis may be developing. It lists personal (friend/family member) and professional support (therapist/counselor) coupled with personal coping skills. If there are skills the person in distress has used before that are effective, encourage use of those particular skills. Get creative.
Early prevention is key; however, the reality is that some people will die by suicide. My hope is that you will have offered the support within your limits.
National Alliance on Mental Illness- Home | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
Remember: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
Take time to check in on others but check in with you first!
Feel free to share with a friend!
Take time, talk soon!