A Major Health Crisis (and How You Can Help)
Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, it’s a good time to learn about aspects of mental health you might otherwise not know (or think) about. For instance, according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) did you know that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US? Today we take a look at this public health crisis and what you can do to help either yourself or others who might be at risk.
A Common Health Concern
Suicide and suicidal thoughts/behavior is a common and serious health concern. In 2017 alone, according to numbers from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), it was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the country. From ages 10-34, suicide was the second leading cause of death, and the fourth for ages 35-54. Suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide) occurred in 4.3% of the adult population in 2017.
What We Know:
Here are some examples of warning signs to look for in friends, loved ones, or yourself from the Mayo Clinic:
- Withdrawing from social contact
- Talking about suicide
- Mood swings
- Preoccupation with death
- Feeling trapped or hopeless
- Self-destructive or risky behavior
- Giving away belongings
- Personality changes
- Self medicating with alcohol or drugs
It can be an uncomfortable and frightening topic. Many people mistakenly think that if you’re concerned about a loved one’s state of mind, bringing up the topic of suicide itself is dangerous; however, it’s important to address your concerns. You can ask simple, direct questions like:
Are you thinking of harming yourself?
Do you have a plan?
Do you have access to methods/weapons to do so?
We know that not all people who talk about committing suicide do so, but almost all people who have committed suicide did talk about it. That means taking someone seriously if they’re referring to suicide and self-harm, and not assuming that s/he is being dramatic or attention seeking. Be respectful, non-judgmental, and offer support and encouragement. Treat suicidal thoughts/talk or plans as the true medical emergency that they are. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting help for your loved one as quickly as possible from medical professionals, such as an Emergency Room visit. You can also encourage him/her to call a trained suicide help line such as 800-273-TALK (8255). There are more resources here.
If you are someone who is considering suicide, try to re-frame your thinking. Realize that depression and other treatable problems are influencing your judgment and things can improve with treatment. Seek help: reach out to your mental health provider, doctor, call a help line like 800-273-TALK (8255) or 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. The way you feel right now is temporary, and feelings (while powerful) aren’t facts. Your life can, and will, improve with time and treatment.
Body One Physical Therapy is committed to helping our patients in body and mind. If you’re a Body One patient and considering self-harm, please talk to your physical therapist. We’ll be glad to guide you to prudent treatment, whether it’s your family doctor or an emergency room visit. Body One focuses on the entire patient and on helping improve your quality of life. We’re locally-owned and operated, and have three locations serving Central Indiana so you can find one that works for you: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Call Body One today and find out how we can help you!