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Learn How You Can Prevent Suicide

Suicide rates have been on the rise in the United States; between 2000 and 2020, rates increased by 30%. Even though the conversations regarding mental health are becoming more prevalent, those suffering still struggle with getting help. Learning the L.E.A.R.N acronym can potentially help save a life.

Look for signs:

  • Talking, joking, or researching about death

  • Feeling hopeless, depressed, trapped, irritable, agitated, anxious, ashamed, humiliated, or burdensome

  • Changes in personality, academic/work performance, sleep, withdrawing from friends/activities

  • Increased abuse of alcohol/drugs, reckless behavior, giving away possessions

Empathize and Listen

  • Most importantly, listen.

  • Listen with compassion, remain calm, avoid judgment, and validate their feelings.

  • Don't offer quick fixes, tell them everything will be OK, show anger, panic, or ask "why" questions….

  • People who have survived suicide attempts report what was more helpful to them— listen.

Ask Directly about Suicide

  • Ask in a way that invites an honest response. Use any signs you've noticed as part of the ask.

  • Be direct. Use the word "suicide" and be prepared for the word yes.

  • Asking about suicide does not cause suicide.

Remove the danger

  • Removing access to items used for suicide is an evidence-based approach to preventing suicide.

  • If they say yes, ask them, "Do you have a plan?" "Do you have access to those means?"

  • Lock up and limit access to firearms, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications. In a time of crisis, lock up alcohol and drugs, belts, ropes, cords, plastic bags, knives, car keys, chemicals, and poison.

Next level of care

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention line at 988 if there is an immediate crisis for telephone and mobile help.

  • If you are not in immediate crisis but are feeling distressed, call Siouxland Mental Health at 712-252-3871 option 8. Our mental health professionals can help you and your family member make a safety plan. Siouxland Mental Health Center also offers a 24/7 Crisis Center for those experiencing increased mental health symptoms.

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