“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, or thinking about suicide, help is available!
Below are resources for free and confidential 24/7 support.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. It is free and confidential. 800-273-TALK (8255)
Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Free, confidential and available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255, then press 1.
Or text 838255
Our trained counselors are here to support you 24/7. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386.
Text from anywhere in the USA to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor. The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information. Text HELLO to 741741.
Understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in a crisis, and change conversation around suicide. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and saves lives.
HOW CAN I HELP SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE?
In 2019, suicide claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wyoming is ranked #1 for highest rates of suicide in the nation. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it can be prevented. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can save lives.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests these 5 steps to help someone in emotional pain:
1. ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
2. KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
3. BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
5. STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.
• Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves.
• Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live.
• Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun.
• Talking about great guilt or shame.
• Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions.
• Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain).
• Talking about being a burden to others.
• Using alcohol or drugs more often.
• Acting anxious or agitated.
• Withdrawing from family and friends.
• Changing eating and/or sleeping habits.
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
• Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast.
• Talking or thinking about death often.
• Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy.
• Giving away important possessions.
• Saying goodbye to friends and family.
• Putting affairs in order, making a will.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
KNOW THE RISK FACTORS
People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide. Many different factors can contribute to someone making a suicide attempt, but the National Institute of Mental Health explain that people most at risk for suicide tend to share specific characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:
• Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder.
• Certain medical conditions.
• Chronic pain.
• A prior suicide attempt.
• Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse.
• Family history of suicide.
• Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
• Having guns or other firearms in the home.
• Having recently been released from prison or jail.
• Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of a family member, peers, or celebrities.
Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention, and should not be ignored (National Institute of Mental Health).
Community Suicide Prevention Strategies
SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING – QPR
QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Training is a free training offered to community members to teach the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. The process follows 3 simple steps: (1) Question the individual’s desire or intent regarding suicide. (2) Persuade the person to seek and accept help. (3) Refer the person to appropriate resources.
Keep an eye out for upcoming QPR Trainings, or contact us to schedule one today! Would you like to schedule a QPR training as part of a “Lunch & Learn” at your business/organization/agency? Contact us for details. QPR trainings generally last about an hour.
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.
The program is offered in the form of an interactive 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the United States. It introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Watch for upcoming trainings available in Hot Springs County, or reach out to schedule one for your group.
Sources of Strength
Sources of Strength is a best practice youth suicide prevention program designed to harness the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults.
Sources of Strength has been implemented in our local High School and Middle School. The program helps our youth identify their strengths and how they can use those strengths through hard times. Our students are doing a great job of sharing messages of hope, help and strength!
Hazelden Lifeline – School Suicide Prevention Curriculum
The complete Hazelden Lifelines® Trilogy is a unique collection of three programs that address the important topic of youth suicide: from prevention to intervention to response. It includes today’s best practices and topics and language to reflect today’s youth culture. This curriculum is being implemented in our local Middle School and High School.
Lifelines® Prevention: Building Knowledge and Skills to Prevent Suicide educates school faculty, parents, and students on the facts about suicide and their respective roles as suicide “preventers”. This program is designed to help everyone in the community recognize when a student is at potential risk of suicide and understand how and where to access help.
Lifelines® Intervention: Helping Students at Risk for Suicide provides faculty and students information on how to respond to signs of suicide. This program educates faculty on intervention best practices and provides clear guidance on how best to involve parents and guardians as partners.
Lifelines® Postvention: Responding to Suicide and Other Traumatic Death is a best-practices manual that educates everyone in the community on how to successfully respond to suicide and other traumatic deaths that profoundly affect the school population.
Decrease Availability and Access to Lethal Means
Reducing access to lethal means of self-harm for a person at risk of suicide is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide. Firearms are the most lethal among suicide methods. Also of concern are medications that are lethal at high doses.
Why It’s Important
- Many suicide attempts take place during a short-term crisis, so it is important to consider a person’s access to lethal means during these periods of increased risk.
- Access to lethal means is a risk factor for suicide.
- Reducing access to lethal means saves lives.
What You Can Do
Families, organizations, health care providers, and policymakers can take many actions to reduce access to lethal means of self-harm. Some of these are general household health and safety precautions that should be used regardless of suicide risk. Examples include limiting access to medications and storing firearms safely when not in use.
Other actions may be more appropriate when a person is at risk for suicide. If someone in the home is feeling suicidal, has recently attempted suicide, or is experiencing a crisis, it is safest to remove lethal means from the household entirely until the situation improves. For example:
- Store firearms with law enforcement (if allowed), or lock up firearms and put the key in a safe deposit box or give the key to a friend until the crisis has passed.
- Ask a family member to store medications safely and dispense safe quantities as necessary.
Free gun locks and medication lock boxes
Our Prevention Coalition has gun locks and medication lock boxes available for free for our community members. Please reach out and let us know what you need! If you are a business or agency that would like to have these on hand to offer for free to your clients/customers, please reach out and we will get you what you need!
ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACES)
ACEs include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; emotional and physical neglect; and the presence of household challenges, including intimate partner violence, substance abuse, mental illness, separation or divorce, and parental incarceration. Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to risk factors for suicide later in life, including suicide attempts, depression, substance abuse, relationship problems, and reduced employment and income. Working together, we can help create neighborhoods, communities, and a world in which every child can thrive. Learn how everyone can help prevent ACEs by using strategies to create safe, stable nurturing relationships and environments for all children.
Hot Springs County Prevention Coalition
415 Springview / Thermopolis, WY 82443
(307) 431-8404 / firstname.lastname@example.org