World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10
Monarch expert Dr. Theresa Kascsak discusses suicide prevention
More than 800,000 people die by suicide across the world each year, according to the recently released World Health Organization (WHO) report: Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative. The report notes that this estimate is conservative, with the real figure likely to be higher because of the stigma associated with suicide, lack of reliable death recording procedures or legal sanctions against suicide in some countries.
Despite the number of deaths by suicide, each individual suicide is a tragic loss of life. It is hard to imagine the extreme psychological pain that leads someone to decide that suicide is the only course of action.
Theresa Kascsak, Ph.D., LPCS, NCC, RPT-S, a clinical operations manager at Monarch’s behavioral health office in Greensboro, suggested to those who are contemplating suicide to reach out to someone you trust.
“Suicide is too big to deal with alone,” said Kascsak, pictured right.
‘Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives’ is the theme of the 2015 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). This initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the WHO, a co-sponsor of meetings and events related to WSPD 2015. WSPD takes place on Sept. 10th each year. It serves as a call to action to individuals and organizations to prevent suicide. This year, the theme encourages us all to consider the role that offering support may play in combating suicide and how reaching out to someone who is struggling can make a difference.
The act of showing care and concern to someone who may be vulnerable to suicide can be a game-changer. Asking them whether they are OK, listening to what they have to say in a non-judgmental way, and letting them know you care, can all have a significant impact. Isolation increases the risk of suicide, and, conversely, having strong social connections is protective against it, so being there for someone who has become disconnected can be life-saving.
“Time and again we see that most people will act on the encouragement and support of family and friends and seek help,” Kascsak explained. “A kind word or gesture of support can make the difference.”
Kascsak provided the following ways to support individuals you believe might be considering suicide:
• Be aware. Become available.
• Get involved.
• Show interest and support.
• Listen to them and learn the warning signs
o Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
o Feeling like there is no reason to live
o Engaging in risky activities without thinking
o Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
o Withdrawing from family and friends)
• Be direct. Don’t be afraid to talk openly and freely about suicide.
• Be willing to listen and allow them to talk openly about their feelings.
o Don’t debate whether feelings are good or bad.
o Don’t lecture on the value of life.
• Get help by reaching out to someone you trust.
o School-aged individuals should tell a trusted adult, a parent, a teacher or school counselor.
o Adults can reach out to a professional health worker or a trusted friend, family member or co-worker.
For support, please call Monarch at (866) 272-7826 or www.MonarchNC.org. Other important resources include:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK or suicidepreventionlifeline.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine at (800) 950-6264 or www.nami.org
Mental Health America – www.mentalhealthamerica.net/
National Institute of Mental Health – www.nimh.nih.gov
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) – www.samhsa.gov/ or www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/
American Psychological Association (APA) – www.apa.org/