September is Suicide Prevention Month, though our tips for preventing suicide are good to know all year around. Suicide, unfortunately, often touches family and friends; in fact, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Even more startling, for every suicide, there are an additional 25 people who attempt it.
By knowing how you can be a safe person for someone who is depressed or considering suicide, you can potentially save a life.
According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, people who are considering suicide feel relief when someone asks about how they are doing. If you know someone has a history of depression or suicide ideation, ask how they are feeling and really listen to the response.
It is important to note, though, that some people who are considering suicide mask it well. You may never know that they are considering self-harm. Make a practice of engaging with your friends, family and neighbors, asking them genuinely how they are feeling and engaging with their answer, without adding your own judgment.
For those struggling with suicide ideation, having items readily available that could make suicide easier is stressful. If you live with someone who is living with thoughts of suicide, be sure your home is safe. Remove anything in the home that they are thinking about using for self-harm purposes. Most importantly, be sure that the person has immediate help if they are feeling like they want to end their life; call 911 or head to a local hospital to get acute care.
People living with depression or thoughts of suicide can benefit greatly from being connected with professionals and peers who will listen without judgment and offer assistance. If you are looking for professional help or a support system, be sure to check out our Resources page to connect with local resources.
Suicide can be tragic and stepping into a prevention role can seem scary. However, open communication and listening are easy for anyone to do and can make a huge difference in the lives of someone living with depression or thoughts of suicide. Do your part and ask for professional help when you need it.