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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Abbey Droessler, Southwest Health

Suicide has touched the lives of almost every American. Many know someone who has died by suicide, whether it’s a coworker, friend or family member. Over the past two decades, suicide rates have steadily risen in the United States and are currently ranked 12th as a cause of death among all ages.

What’s important to remember is that suicide is preventable. We can make an impact through education and understanding throughout our communities, workplaces, and homes.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of this stigmatized and often taboo topic. We use this month to shift public perception, spread hope and share vital information with people affected by suicide. The goal is to ensure that individuals, friends, and families can access the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and seek help.

Southwest Health and other organizations in our community have committed to the Zero Suicide Initiative. This initiative centers on the belief that suicide deaths are preventable for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems. Zero Suicide fits Southwest Health’s goal of High Reliability as it’s a way to improve suicide care, thus improving patient care and safety.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately or you can chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org. It’s estimated that almost 5% of all adults have serious thoughts of suicide. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

There are many warning signs that can lead people to believe someone is thinking about suicide. According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, if the following behaviors are new or have increased, people around that person need to step in. Remember, you might need to be that person that steps in.

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

If you need mental health assistance and want to set up an appointment with any providers at Southwest Behavioral Services, call them at 608-348-3656. Southwest Behavioral Services is not a crisis facility. If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, do not hesitate to reach out to the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line at 988, or call 911.

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