Suicide Recognition and Prevention

Suicide is a mental health issue that can be overcome. As part of #SuicidePreventionMonth, the teams at Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and the Smith Level I Shock Trauma Center would like to highlight the seriousness of suicide and give some warnings signs for people to be aware. The goal is to help highlight the various warning signs of suicide and what Eskenazi Health is doing for suicide prevention in order to help overcome this mental health illness.

According to the Indiana Suicide Network Advisory Council (ISNAC), suicide is one of the more serious health problems facing the public today. Throughout the United States, there is about one suicide every nine hours.

ISNAC also states Indiana has the second highest rate of youth suicide in the country. Indiana has more people die by suicide than by homicide. It is also estimated this year that more than 4,000 Hoosiers will seek emergency care for injuries related to a suicide attempt.

The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors that include: mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, and exposures to violence and social isolation. Suicide doesn’t discriminate as anyone can suffer from suicide or go down that path. However, there are several warning signs that people can display if they are having suicidal thoughts (thoughts of death) or changes in mood and behavior. 

People who are considering suicide often display one or more different types of moods. They signs include depression, anxiety, loss of interest, irritability, humiliation/shame, agitation/anger and/or relief or sudden changes in their mood.

Another warning sign people often show is discussing certain topics such as killing themselves, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped and unbearable pain. A person contemplating suicide could discuss all or some of these topics.

People contemplating suicide may also exhibit behavioral warning signs that foreshadow a suicide attempt. Behaviors to look out for include increase use of drugs or alcohol, research of various ways to kill oneself, withdrawal from activities, isolation from friends and family, extreme sleep habits, telling people goodbye, to give away possessions, aggression and fatigue.

If someone you know is exhibiting any combination of these warning signs, don’t be afraid to talk to that person about it. Eskenazi Health provides this service as well. Every staff member is provided education on suicide awareness and prevention techniques when they join Eskenazi Health. Everyone also is continually educated on updated prevention techniques as well. Additionally, each patient over the age of 7 is screened for suicide every time they come for an appointment at an Eskenazi Health facility.

Eskenazi Health provides extensive after-care help for people who voice suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide. Each patient who requires care is assigned a mental health provider who creates a personalized care plan to encompass individualized specific needs of the patient. This mental health care provider will work with the patient as they work through their suicidal thoughts and will continue to work with them to make sure those thoughts don’t return. Through this personalized and all-encompassing care plan, Eskenazi Health is working to help meet the state’s goal of zero suicide deaths and eliminating this mental health issue.

If you see someone or think someone could be experiencing any of the above symptoms, ISNAC and the teams at Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and the Smith Level I Shock Trauma Center advise people to speak up and talk to that person about those concerns. If you or someone around you is experiencing any of these symptoms and wish to speak to someone please call 317.880.8485. 

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