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Monarch expert discusses suicide prevention, warning signs

Helping HandwwwSuicide is a major public health concern. More people in the United States die from suicide than car accidents, and suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. 

  • Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.
  • A suicide attempt is non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.
  • Suicidal ideation refers to thiking about, considering or planning suicide.

Suicide rates have increased by 25 percent across the United States over nearly two decades, according to a report published recenty by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides, North Carolina is listed among those states with a 12.7 percent increase, the report reveals. Monarch’s Medical Director Dr. Robert McHale said people should encourage their loved ones to seek the advice and guidance from a professional when the following suicide warning signs are exhibited:

  • Substance use relapse or increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Not following physicians recommendations to seek help or treatment
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities one usually cares about
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Visiting, calling or sending messages to loved ones to say goodbye
  • Giving away personal items

“We also want people to understand that while mental illness and substance use conditions are common, they are extremely treatable and individuals can go on to live well, recover and lead full and productive lives,” explained Dr. McHale.

But there are steps to help maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness. These involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community.

These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular mental health checkups.

“Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic stock of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness,” Brown said.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please call (866) 272-7826, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. For 24/7 support, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. The following organizations offer additional important mental health resources.

To learn more, visit:

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