OAK HILL – September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month and Plateau Medical Centers Senior Life Solutions is working to raise awareness and educate the community on the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Talk of suicide should never be dismissed. If you, or someone you know, are thinking of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy and teletherapy program designed to meet the unique needs of senior adults living with symptoms of age-related depression or anxiety, dealing with difficult life transitions, a recent health diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one.
“It is important to reach people early,” said Becky Lawhorn, program director. “We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but by educating our community we hope we can show people that it is okay to reach out and ask for help for themselves or a loved one.”
According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide and they are important to be aware of.
Several risk factors may include:
• A preexisting mental disorder
• Alcohol or substance use disorder
• Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
• Major physical illness
• Job or financial loss
• Loss of relationship(s)
• Access to lethal means
• Lack of social support and sense of isolation
“The stigma associated with asking for help and a lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment can also pose as risk factors to an individual,” Lawhorn added. “We work to lessen the stigma and increase access to behavioral healthcare.”
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline also states that knowing these warning signs may help determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide:
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Extreme mood swings
For more information, or if an older loved one is in need of help, call Plateau Medical Center’s Senior Life Solutions program at 304-465-3004.
— Plateau Medical Center