Suicide prevention was the main topic of the 2019 Mental Health Awareness Event. The stakeholders, organizers, and sponsors tackled issues surrounding mental health and discussed how they can help communities and states reduce the cases of mental health illness among seniors, adults, and especially teens. Activities and workshops for teens and other attendees were also prepared. They invited speakers from different fields of medicine to share their knowledge of mental health – conditions, causes, symptoms, and how to manage these conditions in order to prevent suicide, reduce the stigma related to suicide, and provide information about the different support systems that could help people find solace and comfort in difficult times.
Suicide Risk Factors
Specific situations and events may aggravate the risk of suicide. Some risk factors include:
- Family history of suicide
- Substance abuse
- Certain mood disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression
- Access to dangerous weapons (firearms, etc)
- Death in the family, breakup, financial difficulties, and failures in school, among others
- Previous suicidal attempts
- Chronic pain or chronic illnesses
- Exposure to others who have suicidal behaviors
Suicide Warning Signs
- Making comments about feeling helpless or worthless
- Frequently writing or talking about death or suicide
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and significant others
- Erratic mood changes
- Feeling like he or she is being a burden to other people
What You Can Do
If you know someone who talks to you about considering suicide, do take time to listen to him or her and take their problems seriously. Gently ask them about how they feel, or if they have plans. Show them that you care and that you are there for them. Always remind them that they can seek professional help.
If you are concerned that a friend or significant other is thinking of suicide, the first step you can do is to ask that friend. Research shows that it is very helpful to ask them why they think about things like these. This may encourage them to speak up about their problems. You can help them also by trying to keep them safe. Hide lethal items in the house, like knives, scissors, or other sharp objects. If you feel that your friend is restless and often in deep thought, stay with him. It doesn’t matter if he’s not talking at first. Just be with him. It makes a whole lot of difference.