The difficulty of keeping a dark and hurtful secret can be so overwhelming that sometimes it seems as though the only escape it is to walk away from the situation forever.
Suicide can be seen as an individual’s problem, but not only does suicide affect a single person, but it can affect the family of the individual and endanger entire communities. A few questions remain, how can we keep this from happening and what prevention techniques do we need to use. Warning signs to look for in an individual facing this obstacle are; talking about wanting to die or to killing oneself, looking for a way to kill oneself, thoughts or speech of feeling hopeless or having no reason to live, talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain and increasing use of alcohol or drugs, etc. The Missouri suicide rate was above the national rate in 2015. We need to take this rate to heart, it’s time to pay attention and help each other raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention.
Recently one of Missouri’s state Representatives bravely came out and spoke about her personal suicide attempt and how she felt at the time. Rep. Genise Montecillo spoke about the anxiety and nervousness behind speaking up. Through her story Rep. Montecillo hopes she can give strength to others to seek help.
It’s important to remember that emotional illnesses aren’t isolated to one person. We need to view the situation from their perspective. Families can help by listening, not judging, being careful about the statements made, and reaching out to a professional.
More information is available at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Local help is also available if you think that someone is at risk you can call Northwest Behavioral Health, Samaritan Center for counseling and psychiatry, Family Guidance Center for counseling and Mosaic Life Care for outpatient psychiatry. There is a crisis-line available for individuals to call 888-279-8188 and 1-800-273-TALK(8255).
Gabby Teem, LCSW is a provider at Northwest Behavioral Health and provides advice and education on behavioral health issues.