September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is an exciting month that ushers in a new football season, the beautiful colors of autumn, bonfires, and the beginning of the fall harvest. September is also Suicide Awareness Month, and for many people, the excitement of fall is overshadowed by thoughts of self-harm or suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person commits suicide every 13 seconds in this country, and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people between 15-34 years old. People who think of hurting or killing themselves generally do not see a viable future and have no hope that their lives will be better. Anyone can have thoughts about hurting or killing themselves, but some people have a higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts, including those who have depression or other mental health problems, a family member who has committed suicide, substance abuse issues, any trauma, few social supports, chronic stress, access to weapons, and/or a recent loss or tragedy. Warning signs of suicidal thoughts or gestures are sometimes hard to notice; however, some warning signs are more obvious, including the following: talking about having no hope, how others would be better off, and/or ways to commit suicide, acting uncharacteristically different or suddenly very happy/calm, social isolation, reckless behavior, increased substance use, giving personal items away, saying goodbye to loved ones, and noticeable mood swings. Although many people who wrestle with suicidal thoughts and/or gestures have little hope for the future, hope does exist and things can get better. Effective treatments for thoughts of suicide include mental health therapy, medications, improving physical health, building social support networks, and more. Suicide is a problem that can affect anyone, and talking about it can be hard, but no one has to go through the struggle alone. If you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide, many local and national resources are available for immediate and long-term help with this serious issue. Please reach out for help from any of these following suicide prevention and treatment resources:
911 or ER for emergencies
Southwest Iowa Families 712-542-3501
Waubonsie Mental Health Center 712-542-2984
Hope 4 Iowa 844-673-4469
Boys Town Hotline 800-448-3000
Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255

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