With the stigma surrounding mental health, suicide often becomes an overlooked and rarely talked about subject. But just because suicide is not being talked about doesn’t mean that thoughts of suicide and other severe mental health issues aren’t affecting individuals. Here at Rowan 50 percent of students have said that they’ve felt so depressed before it was difficult to function, 22 percent have said that they‘ve seriously considered suicide before, and 9 percent have said that they have attempted suicide in the past according to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment.
Through open conversation the stigma can begin to be eliminated from our community, and with the elimination of stigma we can more easily raise awareness to suicide prevention.
Suicide is always preventable. By taking the proper steps we can begin to spread hope through the community and those in need.
The first step-recognition
Being able to recognizing the warning signs of suicide greatly increase the chances of preventing a suicide attempt from happening. Some of these suicide risks include:
- A recent loss, ranging from financial, professional, or relational (such as a death in the family).
- Family history of abuse or suicide.
- History of mental illness or substance abuse.
- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies.
- Isolation from social connections or social environments.
- Easy access to lethal means.
- Unwillingness to seek help for their problems.
But where do you go from here?
Once you see these warning signs the best course of action is to question the individual. Try to ask in a sincere and concerned tone, for you do not want them to feel attacked, and express your worries.
After gaining an understanding of the situation, and only if you feel comfortable, it’s best to attempt to persuade the individual from their immediate state of suicidality. Being able to persuade the individual from the heightened emotion of the situation then allows you to refer the individual for further, and hopefully, professional help.
These steps come from the QPR institute (http://www.qprinstitute.com/) a suicide prevention training program. Rowan also offers another online training program, Kognito. Kognito is offered to students and faculty for free at http://www.kognitocampus.com/login with the student login rowan133, and is available until March 2015. Afterward in-person trainings will be available.
Taking care of yourself
Suicidality, while manageable, will always be a difficult topic. When handling a situation with someone dealing with thoughts of suicide it is always important to remember to take care of yourself. If you aren’t able to take care of yourself it may negatively affect those you are trying to help. Simple ways to keep yourself mentally healthy include:
Eating well and being physically active.
- Paying attention to thoughts and feelings.
- Developing relationships that feel safe and supportive.
- Learn to cope or reduce stress in healthy ways.
- Accepting oneself and responsibility for outcomes.
Suicide is preventable 100 percent of the time. Speaking out and eliminating stigma continues to help many individuals who suffer from thoughts of suicide. It’s always important to remember that “suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse; suicide eliminates the chances of it ever getting better.”
By: Jaimie Yakaboski