National Suicide Prevention Week: How to Help Those at Risk

Justin Baker, clinical director of the Suicide and Trauma Reduction Initiative for Veterans Affairs at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical, said researchers are better able to understand when people at risk of attempting suicide, and those who are vulnerable, do so. He says he hasn’t yet figured out how to predict properly. center.

“It’s very, very difficult,” he said. “You can look back at a time when someone has failed or died and think, ‘Oh, look at all these things that were going on in their lives.’ Coping with or experiencing a species stressor does not lead to[attempting suicide].”

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Furthermore, there is not always a long time window between someone contemplating suicide and showing signs of suicide, and the time between deciding to commit suicide and doing so can be as little as 5 to 15 minutes. Yes, Baker added.

“What we generally understand is that emotional dysregulation and cognitive errors occur,” Baker said. So suicide becomes a viable option as a way to manage the pain they are carrying…a short, short window.”

But Baker added that there are some situations in which people with suicidal thoughts and plans for longer periods show behavioral changes.

“If you’re aware of such things, it’s clearly someone really close to imminent danger — someone really close to making the decision to end their life,” he said. “But most people would argue that they didn’t get such warnings.”

If you or someone you know is at risk, a trained counselor from the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you deal with any symptoms you are experiencing or seeing. There is a possibility. In order to improve its accessibility, All states began rolling out 988 As a new lifeline on July 16th. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Management.
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Here are some of the most common behavioral, verbal, and emotional signs and risk factors to watch out for, according to experts.

Actions to watch out for

In the weeks or days leading up to the suicide attempt, some people seem like their normal selves, while others exhibit behavioral changes that aren’t consistent with what you know about them, says a clinical psychologist. said Michael Roeske, Senior Director of the Institute. Newport Healthcare Center for Research & Innovation.

This may involve practicing or preparing for suicide, and may appear to exhibit unusual behavior using guns, pills, or other potentially lethal items. Samsa.
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According to Roeske, Baker, and SAMHSA, other potential behavioral red flags include giving away valuable possessions, sleeping too much or too little, being withdrawn or isolated, and a desire to get angry or exact revenge. Getting drunk one night or driving recklessly can also be warning signs, says Roeske.

Such behavior may be “testing yourself to see if you can actually do it.” That’s the biological thing you have to fight against, your own survival.”

About comments

According to Roeske, talking about wanting to die is another warning sign that should always be taken seriously, suicidal or not. Such comments may be merely expressions of discomfort, pain, boredom, or a desire for intimacy, rather than reflecting an actual desire to die, which is creating them. He added that it does not mean that the person is not being monitored.

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Some might say they feel like they have no reason to live. “If someone is having a hard time finding a reason to live, it’s someone who is at much higher risk than someone who can identify[the reason],” Baker said.

According to Roeske, some people may feel burdened by those closest to them or feel like they belong nowhere or with anyone. Such comments may include “You don’t need me anymore” or “I wish I wasn’t here”. Teenagers who are considering suicide may not want their parents to spend their money on college, he added.

mood and other risk factors

Psychological factors, distressing circumstances, or genetics can make someone more likely to contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide. According to SAMHSAAccording to SAMHSA, these risk factors cannot cause or predict suicide attempts, but it is important to be aware of them.
  • disappointment. “They either have no sense that the future will be better, or they just feel they can’t really imagine what they’re going through.
  • Extreme mood swings. Mr. Roeske and johns hopkins medicineThis person may have decided to commit suicide without telling anyone. This also shows the cheerfulness after a depressing episode.
  • Attachment to death or deadly means. Some people have more rigorous artistic or musical interests than others, but Roeske said it would be a concern if their involvement with them went beyond their normal range.
  • Experiencing abuse, neglect, or other trauma
  • substance abuse problem
  • Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, and personality disorders, especially lack of treatment
  • Severe physical illness, including chronic pain. “People can be very desperate, especially when it’s refractory and very difficult to treat,” says Roeske. “It really is, ‘I don’t want to feel this anymore, I can’t see any other way, I feel trapped.'”
  • Family or personal history of suicide. “The biggest predictor of suicide attempts is previous suicide attempts, because we see an increase in fatality rates or the means by which someone does it,” Roeske said.
  • job or financial loss
  • relationship problems or loss
  • Loss of interest in activities or school
  • Long-term stress from other sources, such as harassment or bullying
  • Easy access to potentially lethal means
  • Suicide or exposure to graphic and sensationalized descriptions of suicide. “On the one hand, we don’t want people to shy away from the topic of suicide. Told. However, when a description or explanation unfairly glorifies or justifies the relief one might derive from suicide, that is a problem.
  • Inadequate social support or feelings of isolation

What should I do

If any of these signs resonate with you, seek professional help and talk to someone you can trust and feel supported by. Certain psychiatric drugs, such as drugs, may help.

“It’s not really your job to make the future predictable,” Baker said, if a loved one is showing signs that they may be at risk of suicide. , you can be supportive and purposeful about asking them what’s going on, Roeske and Baker said.

“You don’t push someone to commit suicide by asking them directly about suicide,” Baker said. “The worst thing they say is ‘no’ and don’t be offended. If so, still ask them. I’d rather have someone piss me off than die.”

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When checking someone in, Baker recommends using a person-centered approach that experts call narrative. It may seem like an open-ended question.

When the person responds, you listen to some degree, thank them for sharing their story, and do it together without offering advice on how to handle it. But if your loved one seems more at risk or suicidal, you can offer to help them understand We don’t have time or space to listen to them anymore,” he added.

When Roeske first started working as a clinician, he had a young female patient who was a very accomplished equestrian, attended a prestigious school, and had a large household, but she had been in the hospital for 10 to 15 years. had chronic suicidal thoughts, since she was a teenager.

“Every time she went to her mother and said so, her mother would (say something like) ‘Oh, you are so beautiful. Look how you are with your horse.’ And[the patient]said, ‘Mom was afraid of what I would say, so she had to keep her distance.

She said a therapist would do the same—you know, “create a positive gratitude list or correct cognitive distortions.” I think she’s trying to kill herself,” a psychiatrist saw her. And the psychiatrist said, “I think you are too.” And she said it was the first time someone was willing to be there with her.

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Roeske says that when talking to a suicidal person, it may be tempting to tell them all the great reasons they have to be alive, but that can actually make them feel more alone. I have.

If you are concerned about your housemates, reduce your chances of attempting suicide by: Restricted access Or remove potentially lethal items like firearms and pills, Roeske said. Hiding a gun isn’t enough protection. the expert said.

Unfortunately, “you can’t predict who will die by suicide any more than you can predict who will die in a car accident,” Baker said. “While this won’t help ease the grief and pain of those who have lost loved ones to suicide, I hope it helps remove some of the guilt and responsibility.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this article.


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