From Kim Kane, IDHW Idaho Suicide Prevention Program Manager:
Even for someone who has worked in the field of suicide prevention for many years, it has been distressing to absorb and process the news this week. Any life lost to suicide, whether in Idaho or nationally, is a tragedy.
But with two high-profile suicide deaths this week — fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — and a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing rising suicide rates across the U.S. since 1999, I encourage you to channel your grief – even if it’s for people you only knew from a television show or a brand name – into understanding more about what you can do to prevent suicide .
First, watch for signs of suicidal thinking and behavior and take action if they are seen. Warning signs include:
- Talking/posting about suicide or wanting to die
- Looking for means/a way to kill oneself, like buying a gun, stockpiling pills or searching for methods online.
- Isolation and withdrawal
- Feeling a burden to others
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Increased aggression, anger or irritability
- Sleeping too little or too much
Trust your gut if you are concerned about someone or see signs. Even if you are in doubt, ask. Ask directly if the person is thinking of suicide/killing themselves. Listen well. Asking the suicide question and listening without judgement increase a person’s sense of belongingness which goes a long way in preventing suicide.
Connect the person you are concerned about to help. Do not leave them alone. Call or text the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-938-HELP (4357) or go online at idahosuicideprevention.org Connect the person with a mental health provider. The hotline can help with referrals. Crisis centers for adults are available in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls.
The report from the CDC reflects what those who have been in the suicide prevention field for many years understand, that is, suicide prevention is an ever-increasingly uphill challenge. However, we also know more today about how to prevent suicide than ever before. Contact the Idaho Suicide Prevention Program for more information.
Vastly, most people who have suicidal thinking or actions recover. There is hope, there is help and recovery is common and possible.