FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH

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Suicidal Tendencies?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) -- Suicide is on the rise. Regardless of race, gender, age, fame, financial status, it is rising! Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.

More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“Let’s look at some statistics and warning signs,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.” Maybe we can help prevent one more!”

According to the CDC, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016 alone.

Know the Warning Signs:

Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here,” but can become more overt and dangerous.

  • Increased alcohol and drug use.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community.
  • Dramatic mood swings.
  • Talking, writing or thinking about death.
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior.

Is There Imminent Danger? Any person exhibiting these behaviors should get care immediately:

  • Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions.
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family.
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm.
  • Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to complete suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication.
  • If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess risk.

Risk Factors for Suicide:

Research has found that more than half of people (54%) who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. A number of other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
  • Access to firearms.
  • A serious or chronic medical illness.
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse.
  • Prolonged stress.
  • Isolation.
  • Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • A recent tragedy or loss.
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation.

Can Thoughts of Suicide be Prevented?

Mental health professionals are trained to help a person understand their feelings and can improve mental wellness and resiliency. Depending on their training they can provide effective ways to help.

If you have suicidal thoughts or know someone that does, contact a licensed qualified mental health therapist immediately!

If you or if you know of someone contemplating suicide, contact or call: Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.