Know the warning signs of suicide

MAYVILLE – Suicide is a serious public health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, classmates, co-workers, and communities. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 38,000 Americans take their life each year and twenty percent of those deaths are military veterans.

Uncovering the reason for an individual suicide death is complex and challenging. What we know from research is that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a potentially treatable mental disorder at the time of their death. A disorder that often has gone unrecognized and untreated.

Knowing the warning signs of suicide could be potentially lifesaving for an individual in crisis. They are as follows:

Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself

Looking for ways to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun

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, or behaving recklessly

Sleeping too little or too much

Withdrawing or feeling isolated

Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

Displaying extreme mood swings

These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has recently increased in frequency or intensity, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If someone you know is experiencing any of these warning signs, seek help. Resources are available. However, if in an acute emergency, dial 911 immediately.

Local Community Mental Health Resources:

Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline: 1-800-724-0461, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Chautauqua Oppor-tunities, Inc. Mobile Crisis Team, 5 p.m. 9 a.m., 24 hour weekends and holidays, accessed through the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline

Chautauqua County Mental Health Clinics, Jamestown: (716) 661-8330, Dunkirk: (716) 363-3550

WCA Hospital Mental Health, Jamestown: (716) 664-8641

The Resource Center Mental Health, Jamestown: (716) 661-1590, Dunkirk: (716) 366-6858

Hospice Chautauqua County Bereavement Services, Jamestown/Lakewood: (716) 338-0033, Dunkirk/Fredonia: (716) 672-6944, Mayville: (716) 753-5383

Mental Health Association Support and Linkages: (716) 661-9044

National Resource:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

If you suspect someone may be at risk for suicide take it seriously. Fifty to seventy-five percent of people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention. Ask the person questions. Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them. Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it. Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted. Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know you care, they are not alone and they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.” And finally, actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately. People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment.