1. Build a Personal Protector Network
Creating and ensuring your loved ones have a trustworthy network of supporters that includes friends, family and medical professionals plays a key role in their mental health and well being. Providing them with the resources and compassion, will best protect them in their darkest times.
2. Commit to Making Mental Health a Priority
Guarantee you are taking care of your loved ones by having open and honest conversations with those who struggle with mental health illness and challenge them to make their mindset a priority.
3. Be Kind to Others
Showing compassion for others might be the simplest strategy you can tap into when it comes to making an impact on suicide statistics. While professional trainings exist to build our confidence and vocabulary around suicide prevention, experts say it’s more about connection. “It’s really empathy and willingness,” Dr. Farnan says. “We all have the ability to change lives and instill hope.” When you notice someone struggling—even if you’re not close to them, or if you don’t know them at all—say something.
4. Familiarize Yourself With the Warning Signs
The more warning signs the greater risk for suicide. Not everyone has warning signs, but many do. Here’s what to look for:
• Direct and/or indirect verbal cues. For example, “I wish I was dead.” “My family would be better off without me.”
• Behavioral cues: History of suicide attempts, uncharacteristic firearm purchase, saving medication, change in mood, giving away possessions, substance use, unexplained anger, aggression or irritability, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
• Situational cues: Loss of job, expulsion from school, unwanted move, significant loss, serious or terminal illness, loss of freedom, loss of financial security, fear of being a burden.
• General mood or comments about hopelessness.