You read it right. 1 million people die of suicide each year. In the United States, the number is 30,000. Each year in the United States, 1 million people are treated for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
In this post, I would like to tell you a little bit about suicide and how you or your loved one can get help if struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
There are different levels of suicidality ranging from passive thoughts to a lethal plan with intent. If you or someone you love has a plan to commit suicide and intend to carry it out, this is a psychiatric emergency. Please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you live in this area, the nearest emergency room that can assist you is at Salem Hospital.
If you have a loved one who is suicidal but doesn't want to or cannot get help on their own, you may call the police and ask for a welfare check. Tell the police as much detail as you can about your loved one's plan and intent. In order for the police to take your suicidal loved one to the hospital, they must believe your loved one to be in imminent danger (ie, will not survive the next 24 hours unless they intervene).
If you or your loved one is suicidal but without a lethal plan or intent, you may go to the Psychiatric Crisis Center in Salem for assistance.
If you have struggled with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, you know that these thoughts and behaviors come and go. If you are not currently dealing with a psychiatric emergency, you may find this app, called Safety Plan, helpful. The goal is to be able to do something you know might be helpful until the suicidal thoughts pass. Please check it out! They have different versions for iphone and android.
Finally, a word about people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Most people who have these thoughts and behaviors don't actually want to die. They simply want to end the pain they are in and see no other way to do so. Judging is not helpful. Offering options or being willing to talk about suicide is helpful. Sometimes people are afraid to bring up the topic of suicide, thinking they may give ideas to the one they fear to be suicidal. This is not the case. Talking about it is helpful and you are not going to put any ideas into your suicidal loved one's head that they haven't already had themselves.
If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact me, via my website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or phone (503-874-4374).
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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