National suicide rates are rising. You can help by learning to recognize signs of suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
The rate of death by suicide in the United States increased by 30% between 2000 and 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In Wisconsin, the NCHS reported a death-by-suicide rate of 15.4 per 100,000 people for 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The death-by-suicide rate is high in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, says Laura Baalrud, Director of 3D Community Health: Body.Mind.Spirit, a service of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Be on the lookout for these seven warning signs of suicide:
- Comments about wanting to die
- Increasing substance use
- Intense mood swings
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If you notice any of these signs, ask whether the person is contemplating suicide and would allow you to help.
“‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ is not an easy question to ask, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts,” Baalrud says. “Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way.”
3D Community Health hosts QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention and Mental Health First Aid classes. For information, call 715.717.1600.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides 24-hour, toll-free, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.
You may also be interested in “No Need to Be Lonely.”