What do Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade have in common? If you knew either of them you knew they were from different worlds and had almost nothing in common. All of that changed in June when they died by suicide in the same week. Now it is September and among other things, it is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The issue however, is so much bigger than Anthony and Kate. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and affects people across the lifespan. Unfortunately, discussion about the issue is limited so the following is an attempt to remedy that. Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with the possible suicide, but if a friend or loved is ever dealing with suicidal ideation this what you might do to prepare and prevent a crisis.
Ways to Prepare for a Crisis
When someone you know expresses the desire to end their life it can leave you feeling helpless. The following is a list of ideas so you can be prepared and feel empowered should you be in this situation.
Have a list of important phone numbers:
- National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- local crisis hotline
- phone numbers of health care providers including therapist if your loved one is in counseling- if not you can find the name of a crisis counselor and put it on your list of contacts
- family and friends who might be helpful in a crisis
- any laypeople – including clergy who might be able to render aid or help to the family or the person in crisis
- the phone number and address of the nearest emergency room or behavioral clinic
Gather a list of important information:
Your loved one’s diagnosis and medications- all medical issues should be listed.
- If your loved one has any medical conditon whether it’s medical or psychiatric write it down.
- history of substance abuse
- triggers- anything that you think may have caused the suicidal ideation, or desire to end their life.
- history- have they attempted suicide before? what helped them in the past? details about past history always help when rendering aid in the present.
Make copies of these lists and have them before it becomes an issue.
Ways to Prevent Suicide
- Encourage People to Talk about their feelings.
- Recognize the warning signs- sometimes people may not come out an say it, but they may do things that indicate they are struggling with suicidal ideation.
- When someone is dealing with active suicidal ideation: ask them, have ” do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?” or ” do you have a plan as to how you would carry that out?”
- Remove any means that they might use to kill themselves such as: knives, guns, pills, rope, or anything else you think they might use to end their life.
- Don’t tell the person dealing with suicidal ideation that it’s wrong. Offer what help you can
- Call the National Suicide Hotline or a local hotline and seek help.
- After seeking help for your loved one- seek help for yourself. talk to friends, family members, a therapist, or pastor. This situation is always hard for all parties involved and talking with someone about it is a great way to heal.
In a perfect world, we would never have a need for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but this world is far from perfect and thousands of people die by suicide every year. By bringing awareness to this topic we honor the lives of those lost and help others like Kate and Anthony.