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The Adirondack Room at the Olympic Training Center here inLake Placidis the site of a special training called Safe Talk.. It’s Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.. Lisa Riley is the Board’s President…
Riley says their goal is to train teachers, parents, students.. and in fact this program is for anybody over the age of 14.. She says the more they can teach community members about “this alertness” to thinking about suicide and if someone is having signs or symptoms or giving us those invitations.. what do we do, how do teachers act or react when they think a student might be at risk.. There are 35 people at this particular Living Works Session..
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has 54 chapters across the country.. The Capital Region chapter covers 15 counties fromHudsontoCanada
While the Living Works Safe Talk in the Adirondack Room is a three hour session, There are some things that we can all be aware of when it comes to identifying some of the primary signals.. One of which is change in behavior
The training program is facilitated in by Foundation Board Member Marianne Reid.. It comes on the heels of Out Of The Darkness Walk in Lake Placid organized by Deb and Doug Jerdo. Patricia Gallagher is a member of theLake PlacidSchool Board..
an excerpt from HelpGuide.org on Suicide Prevention;
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depressionand despair, it’s difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.
Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can’t see one.
FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.
Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.
Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide — it’s a cry for help.
A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about “unbearable” feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.
Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as going from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.
|Suicide Warning Signs|
|Talking about suicide||Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…,” and “I’d be better off dead.”|
|Seeking out lethal means||Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.|
|Preoccupation with death||Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.|
|No hope for the future||Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.|
|Self-loathing, self-hatred||Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).|
|Getting affairs in order||Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.|
|Saying goodbye||Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.|
|Withdrawing from others||Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.|
|Self-destructive behavior||Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”|
|Sudden sense of calm||A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.|
If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.
Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.
Ways to start a conversation about suicide:
Questions you can ask:
What you can say that helps:
Adapted from: Metanoia.org
If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it’s important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for committing suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.
|Level of Suicide Risk|
|Low — Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.|
|Moderate — Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.|
|High — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.|
|Severe — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will commit suicide.|
The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:
If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a local crisis center, dial 911, or take the person to an emergency room. Remove guns, drugs, knives, and other potentially lethal objects from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.
If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don’t take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well. You can offer support, but you can’t get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery.
It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his or her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. As you’re helping a suicidal person, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find someone that you trust—a friend, family member, clergyman, or counselor—to talk to about your feelings and get support of your own.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 90 percent of all people who commit suicide suffer from one or more mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or alcoholism. Depression in particular plays a large role in suicide. The difficulty suicidal people have imagining a solution to their suffering is due in part to the distorted thinking caused by depression.
For some, depression medication causes an increase—rather than a decrease—in depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings. Because of this risk, the FDA advises that anyone on antidepressants should be watched for increases in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Monitoring is especially important if this is the person’s first time on depression medication or if the dose has recently been changed. The risk of suicide is the greatest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment.
Common suicide risk factors include:
In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, both teenagers and older adults are at a higher risk of suicide.
Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem. The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide.
Other risk factors for teenage suicide include:
Additional warning signs that a teen may be considering suicide:
Source: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry