Behavioral Health: Depression and Suicide

Most of us are aware of the loss of the legend actor Robin Williams and the circumstances surrounding his death.  I’d like to take this opportunity to express the importance of any type of warning signs family, friends and loved ones may exhibit when it comes to suicide, depression or change in behaviors.  Our society still tends to minimize these risks when in actuality we should take each sign or behavior seriously. According to Mental Health of America of Indianapolis, there has been an increase in suicidal calls in 2014 by 39% from 2013.  That’s a pretty high percentage!

I have had parents tell me their concerns for their children, and when they are recommended to take their child/ren to the hospital, they hesitate.  Some say it is because the child wants attention, but every threat for suicide should be taken seriously by family and friends! Let the professionals intervene and help your family or loved ones. Some parents say they can’t take their children to the hospital because they would miss school. Other people say they can’t go to the hospital because they would miss work. These common concerns don’t recognize the severity of the situation. School and work attendance will mean nothing if a family member or loved one chooses to follow-through with suicide.

Kids in middle school and high school talk about suicide so frequently now that it is scary.  I have had people who share that their friends tell them they are suicidal but don’t share it with an adult.  That is a huge burden for that child to carry around, as they in turn feel they are responsible for the safety of their friend.  Parents, if you hear your child talking about a friend having suicidal thoughts, please make sure your child knows he/she is not responsible for that friend and cannot keep such a secret from that friend’s parent/guardian/school counselor/teacher. Let’s allow our children to be children and not give them such responsibilities.

Here are some warning signs to look for when it comes to suicide:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking.
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out.
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use.
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, & society.
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
  • Increase or decrease in appetite.
  • Giving away of personal items of value.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or signs, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call your nearest Health Center or doctor.

Don’t let another day go by without getting help for you or loved one. 

Post by Bhumi Bhavsar, Behavioral Health

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