What You Can Do to Prevent Suicide

National-Suicide-Prevention-LifelineSuicide is a scary subject that many people don’t talk about often. However, when you worry that someone you know is thinking about committing suicide, it’s hard to know what you can do to help them.

Ben Yamnitz, director of the West Lake Center at the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois shares important information on what you should look for and what you should do if someone you know is considering suicide.

What are the warning signs to look for?

Warning signs can be expressed verbally or through behavior. Someone thinking of suicide may make statements about wanting to die, life not being worth it or other statements about being hopeless and having no reason to live. They may talk about feeling trapped or believe they are a burden to others. They may increase use of alcohol or drugs. They may start isolating themselves. There may be drastic changes in sleeping patterns, sleeping too much or too little.

Should you talk to someone about suicide if you have a concern? 

Yes, talk to someone if you are concerned that they are thinking of suicide and ask them directly if they are considering it. If you would like assistance or guidance on how to approach this conversation, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime, night or day. Asking someone if they are thinking of suicide will not put that idea into their head. If they are thinking of suicide, asking them may create an opportunity for them to seek help.

What can you do if someone you know wants to commit suicide?

If there is an immediate risk, call 911 so that the individual can be safe and be seen by a mental health professional in the emergency room. If they are willing to seek help, guide them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or direct them to their local mental health service provider, Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois at 710 N. Eighth St.

How can you be proactive?

The statistics don’t lie; one in four people live with a mental health condition. It is very likely that someone you know has thought about suicide. Call the Suicide Prevention if you have a friend, neighbor or co-worker who is really struggling and you are wondering how to be supportive. Remember, suicide is preventable!