Suicide can be a difficult topic to talk about. People having suicidal thoughts may fear of judgment from loved ones. Friends and family members may not want to bring up the topic for fear it could encourage a person to attempt suicide. The good news is that talking about suicide does not cause suicide and help is available.
Warning signs of suicide are numerous and varied. They include feeling hopeless and helpless, expressing feelings of being a burden to others, talking about not having a reason to live, giving away prized possessions, or noticing a sudden shift in mood to calmness and relief (after a person has made final plans).
Suicide can be prevented. Partner for Mental Health supports the efforts to make the National Suicide Prevention Hotline a three digit number, similar to 911, to make accessing help easier in a suicidal emergency.
Research also shows that reducing access to lethal means dramatically reduces the rates of completed suicides. More than half of all deaths by suicide in Virginia involve a firearm and over 80% of suicide attempts by firearm are lethal. This data is why Partner for Mental Health supports the development of extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). ERPOs create a system of due process to temporarily remove firearms from people found to be at imminent risk to themselves. As the leader of Mental Health America of Virginia’s Public Policy Committee, Partner for Mental Health helped craft Mental Health America’s testimony to the Virginia Crime Commission regarding ERPOs. We hope passing ERPO legislation can be a bipartisan effort that reduces death by suicide in Virginia.
If you are interested in raising awareness about suicide, please consider joining us on October 19th at the SPARC Walk of Hope at East End Farm near Zions Crossroads.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-274-TALK (8255)
or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.