52 Weeks to Health: Week 35, Suicide Prevention

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, almost 1 in 5 Americans experience mental health concerns each year, while more than 100 die by suicide every day. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  Now with the COVID-19 crisis, precautions  introduced such as social distancing and self-isolation, coupled with the fear of medical emergencies and growing anxiety about the prolonged nature of the crisis, could amplify the number of people suffering from mental health concerns across the US. It is estimated that over 40% of the population has seen a decrease in their mental wellness since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Pandemic Crisis Services Response Coalition has designed a website to make it easier for Americans to prevent a mental health crisis while accessing available treatment when it is necessary.

The website, www.covidmentalhealthsupport.org, includes three main sections: guidance for people in crisis wishing to access support, guidance for helping a loved one in crisis, and resources for health care professionals.

SUICIDE PREVENTION: Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

According to the American Association of Suicidology website, how do you remember the Warning Signs of Suicide? Here’s an easy way to remember: IS PATH WARM?

I Ideation, S Substance Abuse

P Purposelessness, A Anxiety, T Trapped, H Hopelessness

W Withdrawal, A Anger, R Recklessness, M Mood Changes

Warning Signs of Acute Suicide Risk

The following are not always communicated directly or outwardly:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
  • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

Additional Warning Signs:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Giving away prized possessions or seeking long-term care for pets

Suicide ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-34-year-olds.  Visit the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide for youth-specific warning signs and risk factors.

If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral, or text “HOME” to 741741 to reach the crisis text line.

On a separate note, it is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place.

Press Release: Week-35-Suicide