WARSAW — Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than one percent of all deaths. More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer. Substance abuse is another great instigator of suicide; it may be involved in half of all cases. On average, one person dies by suicide every nine hours in Indiana.
According to a study that was released in 2014, Indiana teens and adults have the highest rate for suicidal thoughts at 19 percent; and the second highest for teens and adults who have attempted suicide at 11 percent. In 2014, 948 Hoosiers lost their lives to suicide. In Porter County alone, between 2011 and 2014, 103 people were lost to suicide–the youngest being 12 and the oldest being 85. Suicide is tragic but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.
Remember: Eight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intentions. People, who talk about suicide, threaten suicide, or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves.
If someone is talking about suicide:
- Don’t leave the person alone, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
- If a friend or loved one talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe he or she might attempt suicide, don’t try to handle the situation alone.
- Do not act shocked or judgmental and do not try to counsel the person yourself.
- If a friend or loved one talks about hurting themselves, it’s important to A.C.T. Acknowledge and listen to your friend or loved one don’t ignore threats; let your friend or loved one know that you care, and tell a trusted adult that you are worried about your friend or loved one.
- Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. A mental health provider, school counselor, emergency personnel, etc would all be able to help. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed.
- Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800) 273-8255 to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
It’s also important to remember that even though you can offer support, you are not responsible for the actions or behavior of your friend. If they are not willing to help themselves it is not your fault. Wanting to help your friend is understandable and really kind, but their actions are their own and you can’t control what they decide to do.
Mental Health America of Porter County (MHAPC) is a community resource for advocacy, education, and support and resource services.
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