Frequently Asked Questions for Suicide Prevention Month
Every year, tens of thousands of people commit suicide, leaving family members, spouses, and friends struggling not only with the magnitude of their pain and loss, but also with feelings of guilt and shame that can make it difficult to talk about the trauma openly or seek the help they need to cope and move on.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time when we all need to take an extra moment to address issues surrounding suicide and offer support and resources to those affected by it.
GreeningLaw, P.C. wants to do everything we can to help family members, spouses, and other loved ones of those who are at risk for suicide or who have committed suicide, which is why we put together some answers to important questions people have about suicide.
Who’s at risk for suicide?
Suicide affects people of all races, ethnicities, ages and genders, so anyone could be at risk. However, there are some groups of people who do have a statistically higher average rate of suicide than others, including veterans and those who are gay, lesbian and bisexual.
Additionally, there are factors that can put certain people at a higher risk than others, and knowing what to look for can help friends and loved ones identify when there may be a situation that needs to be addressed.
Factors that may put someone at an elevated risk for suicide include:
- Previous suicide attempts
- Mental disorders, especially depression
- Substance abuse/addiction
- Chronic pain and other debilitating health conditions
- Past history of family violence, including physical/sexual abuse
- Easy access to firearms
- Recent release from an institution, including jail/prison, mental hospital
Most people with these risk factors won’t attempt suicide, and it’s hard to tell who will act on suicidal thoughts. That said, keeping these things in mind may help you spot a problem and allow you to reach out and possibly get the person help before something terrible happens.
What are the warning signs that someone may be about to commit suicide?
In addition to risk factors, there are some signs to watch out for that may help you identify when a person is thinking of acting on suicidal thoughts. Some are obvious, while others may not be and may seem harmless, which is why knowing what to look for can be so important.
Actions to watch out for include:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, such as making a will
- Extreme risk-taking behavior
- Heavy alcohol or drugs use
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
What treatment options and therapies are available for those who are at risk for suicide?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of psychotherapy that can teach people healthy ways to deal with stressful experiences by helping them to recognize their thought patterns and developing coping mechanism to help when thoughts of suicide arise.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of psychotherapy that can help people recognize disruptive or unhealthy feelings or actions and teach them the skills they need to better cope with upsetting situations.
Brief Intervention Strategies: These typically start with creating a safety plan or crisis response plan with specific instructions for what to do and how to get help when having thoughts about suicide. This often includes things like safe storage of lethal means (firearms, medications, etc.), as well as ongoing therapy and collaborative assessments aimed at curbing suicidal thoughts.
Collaborative Care: Collaborative care is a team-based approach to mental health care in which a behavioral care manager works with you, your primary health care provider, and any mental health specialists to develop a holistic, personalized plan to address mental and physical issues, which are often linked.
Some people also find help in things like support groups, traditional psychotherapy and talk therapy, as well as talking with a spiritual counselor or adviser. The important thing is that people dealing with suicidal thoughts keep trying different outlets and therapies until they find something that helps them deal with their them.
What should I do if I think someone I know is considering suicide?
If you know someone has certain risk factors and you notice the warning signs that they might be considering taking their own life, it’s important to get them help as soon as possible and take steps to get them mental health treatment. Don’t leave them alone, and don’t make any promises to keep their suicidal thoughts a secret. If there is immediate danger, including messages or live streaming content on social media that suggests someone is about to commit suicide, call 911.
In a crisis, you also can contact:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En español 1-888-628-9454
This free and confidential crisis hotline is available to everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Crisis Text Line
Text “HELLO” to 741741
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, The Crisis Text Line helps people in any type of crisis by connecting them with a crisis counselor who can provide support and information.
Can you file suit if someone you love commits suicide?
While many suicides are tragedies that can’t be prevented, there are situations where people do contribute to someone harming themselves (such as a perpetrator of a violent crime or sexual abuse) and may even be found liable in a civil suit.
In cases of inpatient suicide, mental healthcare providers or institutions (such as psychiatric hospitals) may be held responsible for someone harming themselves while a patient in their facilities.
We want to help families and others affected by suicide.
At GreeningLaw P.C., we understand that dealing with the death of someone you love as a result of suicide can be a terribly painful experience – and it can be especially hard if that death could have been prevented.
Our experienced attorneys are here to help. We care about all our clients and treat every case with the same respect and thoroughness we would our own families. And as one of the most recognized personal injury law firms in Texas, we know how to make sure our clients are properly compensated for their suffering.
Contact us today to get started with a free consultation. We’ll review all the elements of your case, discuss any possible compensation, and suggest your best course of action. And since we work on a contingency basis, you don’t owe us a thing unless you’re get compensation for your case.
We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal.