The field of psychology is ripe with opportunities to engage in a variety of activities and influence policy. It includes a broad spectrum of disciplines, including pediatricians, emergency room physicians, school counselors, and mental health experts. In this way, it is a natural fit for preventing suicide. Many psychologists have experience in suicide prevention. However, it is important to note that it is not possible to prevent all suicides. To help minimize the risk of suicide, educators should have developmentally appropriate conversations with children.
The rate of suicide in the U.S. has risen and fallen over the years, and it has risen again in recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s March Monitor, suicide rates have increased by 33% from 1999 to 2017. In addition, health-care providers struggle to identify those who are at risk for suicide and intervene appropriately. This multi-sectoral approach is vital for preventing suicide.
One of the most important strategies for preventing suicide is to build people’s resilience. People who are resilient can face new challenges and cope better than those who do not. A positive self-concept and optimism are two characteristics of people who are resilient, which may be a preventive factor. Other effective strategies for suicide prevention involve mindfulness and stress reduction. The REACH pathway addresses these issues and many more. Once you identify someone at risk, there are many ways to support them.
In addition to psychosocial support, prevention efforts also focus on limiting the access of lethal methods to people who are at risk of suicide. These can include education of family members and the public, distribution of gun safety locks, changing medication packaging, and the installation of barriers on bridges. These measures may reduce suicide rates but can’t eliminate the risk completely. A person with suicidal thoughts must seek help before attempting suicide. It is imperative to limit access to lethal methods to save the lives of loved ones.
Despite the fact that the number of suicides in the U.S. has increased by 31% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of this year, preventing suicide is more difficult than ever. Suicide is also a form of mental health illness, and stigma often prevents people from seeking help. This stigma is a huge barrier to prevention, but it can be overcome with education and support. You can prevent suicide by fostering a social connection with loved ones, increasing awareness, and providing hope.
For anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s critical to establish a safety plan. You must identify the triggers that may prompt such thoughts. You should include phone numbers for family members and medical professionals. You should also take steps to remove any means of suicide from the home. Keep medications in a locked room or locked up for those who might experience an overdose. In addition, prompt professional assistance can also help prevent the suicide of someone you know.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free 24/7 phone line that connects people in crisis with trained counselors. Lifeline is funded by SAMHSA, and has a network of over 150 crisis centers nationwide. By following up with these calls, more than 90 percent of suicide attempts and ideation were halted. So, call the Lifeline and get help today. And remember that every moment counts. Take action today to prevent suicide!
A successful strategy for preventing suicide starts with top leadership. Leadership must commit to reducing suicide in health care and should set goals to achieve those goals. It should be emphasized as a critical patient safety issue. Losing a patient due to suicide is a devastating and heartbreaking experience for all involved. To prevent suicide, top leadership must foster a culture of safety and support the staff caring for suicidal patients. The best way to do this is to implement a comprehensive and systematic approach to the prevention of suicide.
Suicidal thoughts are common warning signs, and the sooner they are recognized and treated, the better. If a loved one is showing warning signs of depression, suicide, or other mental health issues, it’s important to intervene. The suicide prevention lifeline offers free, confidential support to callers. And even if you can’t be there right away, it’s better to take action now than to wait until it’s too late.
The #BeThere campaign is another valuable resource. This campaign is not just about educating the public about suicide, but also about connecting individuals in crisis with those who can help them. Suicide rarely happens out of thin air. People need help to cope with its symptoms and prevent it from happening to anyone else. And it doesn’t happen suddenly. Keeping a watchful eye on a loved one’s behavior will reduce the risk of suicide.