Winning Health | Gold Coast Health Plan | Issue 2 | Fall 2018

W ould you be able to tell if someone you cared about was at risk for suicide? That’s an important question because in the past two decades, suicides have spiked. Taking one’s own life is the 10 th leading cause of death in the U.S. Most people who kill themselves are deeply conflicted about ending their lives. They wish there was an alternative to suicide. But they’re in so much emotional pain they see no other option. Suicide doesn’t discriminate. People of all ages–from children to seniors–and all ethnic backgrounds are at risk. And while men are more likely to die from suicide, women are more likely to attempt it. What to watch for. It’s important to know the warning signs for suicide and to take them seriously, especially when someone talks about suicide. It’s a myth that most people who talk about suicide won’t do it. Nearly everyone who attempts it gives a verbal cue–for example, by saying, “If I see you again,” “I’d be better off dead” or “There’s no way out.” There are other warning signs to take seriously too. Get help if someone: ■  ■ Seeks out guns, pills, knives or anything else that could be used for suicide. ■  ■ Is obsessed with death–for example, they might write poems about it. ■  ■ Appears hopeless or feels trapped. ■  ■ Expresses self-loathing or shame. ■  ■ Is self-destructive or reckless. ■  ■ Withdraws from family and friends. ■  ■ Says goodbye as though they won’t be seen again. ■  ■ Gets their affairs in order–for example, makes a will. ■  ■ Has dramatic mood changes. Also be aware that certain people are more vulnerable to suicide than others. Risk factors include: ■  ■ Mental health problems (such as depression), alcoholism or drug abuse. ■  ■ Past suicide attempts or a family history of suicide or physical or sexual abuse. Take action. If there’s any chance you know someone who’s considering suicide, get them to the nearest emergency department or call 911. Don’t leave them alone, and remove any weapons or potentially deadly objects like pills. Treatment can help. Those who are not in treatment and want counseling or medication can go to a counselor, doctor or nurse. They don’t need a referral. For help finding someone who can help, call Beacon Health Options at 1-855-765-9702/ TTY 1-800‑735‑2929 . Sources: American Association of Suicidology; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;; National Institute of Mental Health member services: 1-888-301-1228 / TTY 1-888-310-7347 3 winning health Talk to someone If you or your loved one is in a crisis and needs help right away, call 1-800- 273-TALK ( 1-800-273-8255 ) or 1-800-SUICIDE ( 1-800-784-2433 ) / TTY 1-800-799-4TTY ( 1-800- 799‑4889 ) any time, any day. Or go to . These 24-hour-a-day suicide prevention lifelines are free services, available to anyone. All calls are confidential. Suicide: Know the warning signs and get help mental health