Published on September 13, 2022

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is annually recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), September was first recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists suicide as the leading cause of death in the United States, with about 46,000 in 2020. Erica Kegley, Outreach Manager, Holzer Psychiatric Services sat down to discuss ways in which people can help others and themselves prevent suicide.

“If we educate ourselves of the warnings signs, I believe we can help a lot of people,” said Kegley. “A loved one may be experiencing suicidal thoughts if they express feelings of wanting to die or feeling trapped, isolating themselves, withdrawing from activities they enjoy, having severe mood swings and partaking in risky behaviors. In many situations, individuals will drop subtle hints of a plan, so I encourage everyone to listen and be there for that person.”

Suicide affects people of all ages and ethnicities. According to the CDC, roughly 12.2 million adults seriously considered suicide in 2020, and for people ages 10-14, it was the second leading cause of death. If you believe someone you love is contemplating suicide, Kegley says the first thing to do is ask. This usually opens the door for conversation and helps them feel seen.

“The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline implemented the new 988 number on July 16, 2022, and is available 24/7/365,” said Kegley. “If they do not feel comfortable talking with you, point them to this number. It is a free resource, and you can call or text to connect with a professional. There is also a crisis line for Veterans Affairs. You can dial 988 and press 1 or text 838255 to connect with someone.”

Holzer does offer resources, as well as in the area support services for our communities at any time. Holzer offers a Hope and Healing Grief Support group is open to the public, not just for those who have utilized hospice care, on the first Tuesday of each month.

If you know someone who may be dealing with some form of anxiety or depression, let he/she know you care. If you need immediate assistance, the Holzer Psychiatric Unit is available at 740-446-5808. This phone line is managed 24/7 with a representative to assist anyone with mental health needs. An additional resource includes the National Suicide Prevention Line at 988. Calls are completely confidential and available 24/7.

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