The term “preventing suicide” refers to efforts to decrease the risk of suicide. Suicide is often preventable, and this effort is done at a variety of levels, from the individual to the community. This article outlines some of the most effective suicide prevention practices. These include: prevention of suicide attempts, awareness about suicide, prevention of suicide attempts, and more. Although these strategies may not prevent suicide, they can certainly reduce its risk.
One of the most important settings to work toward preventing suicide is schools. Teachers can have a significant role to play in keeping students safe. The mental health of students can affect their performance in school, and a suicide in school can have devastating effects on the entire community. Schools should promote emotional well-being and help students identify the signs of suicidal behavior. Suicide prevention efforts also involve preparing schools to respond to suicide death. The CDC recommends that schools implement suicide prevention programs that target all aspects of the educational experience, from the curriculum to the environment.
Faith communities can help prevent suicide by supporting people who struggle with mental illness. Suicidal attempts are often the result of a life crisis or a loss of a loved one. A faith community can help by offering resources and guidance during difficult times. In addition, SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center helps survivors of suicide attempts to access treatment and other resources. It also provides information on mental health disorders and free treatment referrals.
Another important suicide prevention strategy is to listen to the young person’s words. A suicidal teenager may withdraw from his friends, skip school, and avoid contact with other people. They may have major changes in their sleep patterns, eating habits, or social activities. Sudden, unexplained happiness may also be an early sign of suicidal behavior. Parents should also pay attention to a child’s desire to commit suicide.
A comprehensive public health approach to preventing suicide is essential. Healthy People 2020 includes a framework to identify, measure, and address the social determinants of health. These factors include economic stability, education, and the environment, as well as social context. The CDC Suicide Prevention Technical Package highlights several social determinants that can affect a person’s risk of suicide. The objective is to prevent more than ten percent of suicide attempts.
A key protective factor against suicide is resilience. Resilience can be enhanced by activities that help people cope with new challenges. Some of these skills include critical thinking, conflict resolution, and coping. Positive self-concept and optimism are important factors that contribute to resilience. Skills training and self-help materials can be used to enhance resilience. The benefits of preventing suicide are long-term, so parents and educators can play an important role. The prevention of suicide begins in the home.
Identifying the signs of suicide is critical. Anyone who thinks about suicide should be evaluated to determine if they are in immediate danger. Those at greatest risk have a specific PLAN for suicide, a means to complete it, and an intention to commit it. If the person has been unable to cope with the stress in their life, then their suicide risk is high. The prevention of suicide starts with identifying these warning signs and acting immediately.
Mental health professionals should be consulted when people are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Using therapy can help individuals recognize ineffective patterns of thinking, validate their feelings, and develop coping strategies. Suicidal thoughts can be treated, and with treatment, a person can become happier and healthier. Remember that suicide is not an answer – it’s simply a sign of a deeper problem. If you suspect someone you care about is having suicidal thoughts, call the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and ask for guidance.
If the person you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, talk to them about your feelings and triggers. Try to adopt a caring and open mindset when talking with them, but do not lecture them or argue. Instead, try to provide support and encourage healthy lifestyle changes. Encourage the person to get plenty of rest, get outside for fresh air, and exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which help reduce stress and promotes emotional well-being.
A significant number of individuals attempt suicide. Fortunately, most suicide attempts are preceded by warning signs. By recognizing these warning signs and responding accordingly, the likelihood of suicide is greatly reduced. If you suspect that a person is suicidal, point out the benefits of other options and show your support. If you are unsure whether the person is suicidal, seek help from a psychologist or doctor. If they continue to refuse help, the person may eventually try suicide.