Did you know these facts – based on 2017 data – about suicide?
With data like these, it's clear that suicide is a significant problem. And according to the National Institute of Mental Health, it's a growing problem as evidenced by the 31 percent increase in the suicide rate between 2001 and 2017.
At Menninger, we know that the despair that precipitates suicide, suicide attempts and even thoughts about suicide can be successfully treated. It takes time and quality mental health care, but it's possible to overcome this anguish and suffering.
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While there's no one reason why someone attempts or completes suicide, there are warning signs and risk factors to be aware of.
Watch for warning signs such as an increase in the number of hours spent sleeping, an increase in alcohol or drug use, isolation from family and friends or refusing to participate in activities that once brought joy and satisfaction.
Risk factors for suicide include a mental health issue like depression, anxiety or personality disorder; a traumatic brain injury; traumatic life events; loss of a family member or friend; previous suicide attempts or a family history of suicide.
If you notice a loved one with these or other warning signs and risk factors, talk to them. Let them know you're concerned about their mental health. Ask them if they've been thinking about ending their life. Remember: It's OK to mention suicide; research has proven that talking about suicide doesn't lead someone to attempt it.
If you think your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. Remove lethal items, including firearms and medications, from their home.
If they're afraid to go to therapy, or are too depressed to locate a therapist, offer to help them by calling and making an appointment. Then offer to take them. Remind them that therapy, often accompanied by psychiatric medication, is a proven path out of the darkness and despair.
To find a therapist in your area, try the Psychology Today directory or call us at 713-275-5400. We might know a therapist near you. If you're in the Houston area, we'll be happy to connect you with one of our outstanding therapists or one of our inpatient treatment programs for adults, young adults or children and adolescents.