National Suicide Prevention Week
This is National Suicide Prevention Week
Suicide is a community issue and major public health issue. In the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties), there were 391 suicides during 2007 for all ages. It's important that we work together to recognize people at risk of suicide.
What can I do?
We can all reach out - to friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives who might be struggling! Asking someone about suicide does not plant the idea. This myth causes roadblocks to helping those at risk of suicide. Asking someone directly if they are thinking about suicide in a caring manner does not cause suicide and may help a person realize it's okay to be struggling and seek help. While there is no test to see if someone is suicidal, there are warning signs.
We should respond immediately if an individual shows the following warning signs:
- Talking or writing about suicide, death or dying
- Giving direct verbal cues, such as "I wish I were dead" and "I'm going to end it all" (suicidal threats)
- Looking for ways to kill him- or herself: seeking access to pills, weapons or other means
The following warning signs also warrant attention, especially if in the presence of any of the above signs or other known risk factors:
- Increasing alcohol or other drug abuse
- Global insomnia
- Isolating him/herself from friends and family
- Dramatic changes in mood
- Neglecting his or her appearance and hygiene
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
By knowing these warning signs, we can be better prepared to intervene when we see a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or relative in distress. Don't be afraid to tell your friend that you're concerned; you've been noticing changes - that something is not quite right and you're worried. This open dialogue can help individuals feel relief, know that someone cares, maybe seek professional help, and ultimately we can help save a life. Don't keep it a secret; get help for someone at risk.
Anyone who is considering suicide, or knows someone who may be at risk for suicide, should call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the National Lifeline number, or contact a family physician, psychiatrist, medical emergency room, or community mental health center listed in the yellow pages. Many suicides can be prevented and we can help by being vigilant for the warning signs.
A number of groups to support individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide exist in the Bay area.
The LIFE Center of the Suncoast, Inc., 6811 N. Central Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33604-5500 hosts a Suicide Loss Group that provides support for surviving loved ones and friends and meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:15 pm. For more information call (813)237-3114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Suncoast Yellow Ribbon in conjunction with PEMHS hosts a suicide bereavement meeting. The group meets 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month beginning at 7:00 pm at PEMHS Main Campus Activities Center (also known as building I) 11254 58 Street North, Pinellas Park 33782-2213. This is an open group and folks can join at any time. For more information contact Bonnie McClelland (email@example.com) at 737-394-8222 or Matthew Cook at 727-545-6477 ext 435 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beginning September 15, 2010 Healing from Suicide Loss Support Group for Adults will meet the first & third Wednesdays each month at 7:00 pm at Suncoast Kid's Place, 17030 Lakeshore Rd.. Lutz, FL 33558. Call Suncoast Kid's Place to register or with questions: 813-990-0216.
Some USF Resources for training and education about suicide.
An online Suicide Prevention Training program is available for free (http://www.bakeracttraining.org/ ) and was designed with involuntary assessment staff (Baker Act facility staff) as the major audience, however a number of the modules have applicability to a more general population.
A fall 2009 presentation to Florida’s National Alliance on Mental Illness, Warning Signs of Children and Adolescents at Risk for Suicide was video taped and is available as a free “public access” course to USF/FMHI’s “Online Learning in Children’s Mental Health” website http://onlinelearningincmh.fmhi.usf.edu.
For additional information on suicide prevention efforts conducted by the Department of Child & Family Studies, contact Stephen Roggenbaum at 813-974-6149 or email@example.com.