Raising awareness about suicide

On average, one person dies by suicide every 12 hours in Kentucky. Suicide can affect people of all ages, races and ethnicities.

The tragic losses of Avicii, Kate Space and most recently Anthony Bourdain, is drawing attention to the broader problem of rising suicide rates around the country.

The big picture – suicide rates are increasing in almost every state. Here is some information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%.
  • Suicide is the nation’s 10th leading cause of death.
  • Data from 2014-2016 shows suicide rates have increased in almost every state since the turn of the century.
  • In 2016 alone, about 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.

Mychaela Bruner spoke to Licensed Clinical Social Worker Leah Fondaw who says it is important to be aware of the warning signs, which include:

  • Personality changes
  • Increased irritability
  • Poor sleep or changes in sleep
  • Energy or appetite changes
  • Comments about hopelessness, feeling trapped or in pain
  • Impulsivity

If you have concerns at all, make sure you ask, “Are you having any suicidal thoughts?”

Four Rivers Behavior Health wants to make suicide a ‘never event.’ In order to do so, they say we must know the signs and take action.

Certified Prevention Specialist Samantha Powell suggests getting involved to raise awareness and get rid of the stigma surrounding suicide.

Here are several events and ways to get involved:

  • The ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk in Paducah is September 8.  Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the walk begins at 11 a.m.
  • QPR trainings – Question, persuade and refer. The three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. You can learn QPR in as little as one hour. Contact Four Rivers Behavioral Health if interested.
  • Support group at Lourdes hospital in the Marshall Nemer Pavilion at 5:30 p.m. the first Thursday of every month.

If someone tells you they are suicidal, here’s what you should do:

  • Stay with them
  • Call the crisis line
  • Take them to the Emergency Room
  • Walk with them into Four Rivers Behavioral Health
  • Call 911 if needed
  • Secure the person from anything they might use to hurt themselves

Suicidal thoughts are treatable thorough therapy and medication along with medication friend and family support. Help your loved one understand there is help and hope.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call Four Rivers Behavioral Health at (800) 592-3980 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. Both hotlines are available 24/7.

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