At the Indiana Collegiate Action Network (ICAN) conference today, Colleen Carpenter, who is an expert on suicide prevention spoke about the issue of suicide and how it can be prevented. The following are excerpts from her presentation:
*90% of those who die by suicide showed warning signs, 2 weeks before their death
*nearly everyone who is thinking about suicide is ambivalent about ending their life
*showing them that you care and offering help builds hope and can prevent suicide
There are risk factors associated with suicide:
1. family history of mental illness and suicide
2. lack of parental support and a history of violence and abuse
3. feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, anger/hostility, poor problems solving skills, feeling like a burden
4. school or work problems, financial problems, abuse, chronic disability or illness
5. lack of access to care, stigma about seeking help, access to lethal means, negative social environment
F - Feelings
A - Actions
How do we PREVENT suicide? Don't be afraid to start a conversation with someone by saying something like....
"I have been feeling concerned about you lately."
"It sounds like you're going through a lot right now - do you want to talk about it?"
"It seems like you're really (down, depressed, angry etc) - can we talk about it?"
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO:
1. NEVER leave the person alone
2. Don't think they're "just talking" and don't mean it if they make suicidal threats and don't imply their thoughts are silly or unimportant
3. Don't make promises to them including that you will keep their secret
4. Don't try to convince them that things are not "all that bad"
5. Don't act alone - try to get someone else, preferably a professional, involved
FOLLOW UP AND GET THEM RESOURCES AND HELP
Call 9-1-1 if they're actively threatening or become secluded while actively threatening
The Jed Foundation www.thejedfoundation.com
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Suicide Prevention Resource Center - www.sprc.org
American Association of Suicidology - www.suicidology.org