National Suicide Prevention Week: Challenging assumptions
Sept. 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week, with a theme of Challenging Our Assumptions and Moving Forward Together. The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) would like to take this opportunity to provide awareness on how to determine if someone is suicidal, how to talk to someone who is suicidal and how to keep the person safe until help arrives. Our mission is to provide the highest quality pre-hospital physical and emotional emergency care.
WVAC wants you to be able to tell if someone is feeling suicidal so that you can promptly contact emergency help. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs of suicide. The signs that a person may be suicidal are:
• Threatening to hurt or kill himself or herself;
• Looking for ways to kill himself or herself: seeking access to pills, weapons, or other means;
• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide;
• Rage, anger, seeking revenge;
• Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking;
• Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out;
• Increasing alcohol or drug use;
• Withdrawing from friends family, or society;
• Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time;
• Dramatic changes in mood;
• No reason for living, no sense of purpose.
People may show one or many of these signs, and some may show signs not on this list.
If you suspect someone may be at risk for suicide, it is important to ask directly about suicidal thoughts. Although some people think that talking about suicide can plant the idea in the person’s mind, this is not true, according to the Mental Health First Aid USA Training Program. Another myth is that someone who talks about suicide isn’t really serious. When talking to someone who is suicidal, it is important to first call 911 and:
• Tell the person that you care and that you want to help;
• Express empathy;
• Clearly state that thoughts of suicide are often associated with a treatable mental disorder, as this may instill a sense of hope;
• Tell the person that thoughts of suicide are common and do not have to be acted on.
During a mental health emergency, call 911 and do not leave the suicidal person alone. Only do so if your safety is in jeopardy. Always remember that your safety is a priority. WVAC responds to mental health emergencies, along with the police department, and is trained in providing assistance and secure emergency transportation to the appropriate healthcare facility for citizens experiencing a mental health crisis.
For more information on the prevention of suicide, visit the American Association of Suicidology website at suicidology.org.
The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Information: wiltonambulance.org.