Know the Signs – TALK

by Katie Grady, MSW, CAPSW, Social Worker at Southwest Behavioral Services

Talk SignWhile every person and situation is unique, it has been found that common language exists in many suicidal patients. Some are direct and easy to identify, while others may go unnoticed. This is one of many reasons why community education is so critical to reducing the public health crisis that is deaths caused by suicide.

The following are some examples of “direct” verbal cues:
“I have decided to kill myself.”
“I wish I were dead.”
“I am going to commit suicide.”
“I am going to end it all.”
“If (such and such) doesn’t happen, I’ll kill myself.”

Some examples of “indirect” cues include:
“I’m tired of life, I just can’t go on.”
“My family would be better off without me.”
“Nobody would even care if I died.”
“I just want out.”
“I just want the pain to stop.”
“I won’t be around much longer.”
“Pretty soon you won’t have to worry about me.”

If you are in contact with someone who is making these, or similar statements you have the ability to help. People are often uncomfortable with the topic of suicide and do not know how to address these types of statements. The main thing to remember is that how you help is often not as important as if you help. Talk to the individual and, just as importantly, listen. Help them to feel heard, let them know someone cares about them, and get that person to agree to access help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a professional, including the resources below:

  • Grant and Iowa County 24-hour crisis line (via Unified Community Services): 1-800-362-5717
  • Lafayette County 24-hour crisis line (via Northwest Connections): 1-888-552-6642
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to your local Emergency Room or call 911

Katie Grady works at Southwest Behavioral Service’s geriatric inpatient unit. Katie has her Master’s Degree in Social Work from UW-Madison and provides group and individual therapy for patients while they are admitted to the unit. She also assists in managing patient care and discharge planning.

Southwest Behavioral Services (SBS) is the mental health service line at Southwest Health.  SBS has been part of Southwest Health since 1998 and has grown and developed around the community’s needs.  Included in our services are: Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry serving ages 55 and older, Outpatient psychiatric care for ages 6 and up including medication management and psychotherapy, as well as a Memory Diagnostic Clinic.    If you have questions about our service line or want to schedule an appointment do not hesitate to call us at 608-348-3656.

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