Suicide is a significant public health concern affecting people of all ages. It is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Every year, more than 39,000 Americans take their own lives and about 487,000 people receive medical treatment for self-inflicted injuries. Help prevent suicide in Madison County by knowing the facts, warning signs, and where to get help.
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that does not mean he or she does not want help. Suicidal people generally do not want to do die — they just want to stop hurting. Prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. You can play a role in prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor involved. Warning signs for suicide include:
• Talking about killing or harming oneself
• History of previous suicide attempts
• History of alcohol or drug abuse
• History of depression or other mental illness
• Stressful life event or loss
• Family history of suicide
• Easy access to lethal methods
• Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Quite often, victims are blamed and their loved ones are left stigmatized. In return, people do not communicate openly about suicide. Ultimately, a significant public health problem is left shrouded in secrecy, limiting the amount of information available to those working to prevent suicidal behavior.
On a positive note, research over the last several decades has uncovered a plethora of information about the causes of suicide and prevention strategies. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Dr. Amanda Williams is a family practitioner at Madison Health Primary Care in London, specializing in family medicine and geriatric medicine. To make an appointment, call 740-845-7500.
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