Mental health issues can affect people anytime and in all walk of life and different demographics. The recent suicides of both designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain are reminders that mental illness is a serious issue in this country. Even successful people can struggle with feelings of depression and without enough support may tragically take their own life.
After news of these suicides people are often sharing links to crisis support and suicide hotlines in order to provide help for those who might have suicidal thoughts or feelings. Crisis intervention organizations can be life-saving for those who need someone to reach out to when they feeling overwhelmed. Access to suicide prevention lifelines is crucial in the U.S. where millions of people suffer from depression at any given time.
Even though suicide hotlines are critical, other resources are also important in order to help people in our country maintain good mental health. People who have severe depression and suicidal thoughts can be saved temporarily by a hotline but they will need more than a few moments of help to overcome their issues. Long term mental health treatment is the most beneficial solution for depression and suicidal feelings.
Getting People into Treatment
The main role of a suicide hotline is to be there for a person during a moment of crisis when they feel that they have no reason to live. Volunteers working at a suicide hotline are specifically trained in helping people who are experiencing this type of crisis. They are generally caring people whose primary goal is to listen to your problems, provide whatever help that they can and direct you to further services.
Although suicide hotline volunteers are generally trained to direct people toward longer term solutions and plans, it can sometimes be difficult for people to get access to the care that they need. Insurers don’t always cover mental health treatment and not all insurance companies are required to help those suffering from mental illnesses. Unfortunately only a small fraction of people who need treatment for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety actually receive these services.
Not only is it important for people to have suicide hotlines for prevention and help, it is also necessary for them to be directed to a treatment plan that they can easily access and afford. Mental health treatment is crucial for people who are having suicidal thoughts because it represents one of the most severe symptoms of depression. Without long term care, calling a suicide hotline is only a temporary fix that may not resolve suicidal thoughts or prevent them from occurring again in the future.
Providing support for people with depression is a crucial element in preventing suicide. It is important for people to be aware of the signs and symptoms that someone may be contemplating suicide. Suicide hotlines, mental health treatment and support and care from friends and family are all crucial in preventing a tragedy.
As awareness of suicide increases with recent tragic public deaths, it may influence people to learn more about the warning signs of suicide. Someone who is suicidal may indicate in subtle ways that they are feeling this way. Some of the signs include:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Talking about feelings of emptiness, shame, or that there are no solutions to their problems
- Increased substance abuse and self-destructive behavior
- Researching or preparing suicide methods such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Withdrawing from friends and family or spending a lot of time alone
- Making a will or saying goodbye to friends and family
People that exhibit any of these signs may be thinking about or planning to take their own life. If you notice any of these symptoms then it is important to talk to your loved one or stage a crisis intervention if necessary. Not everyone who plans to take their life will feel compelled to call a crisis hotline so it is crucial for them to have support from the people in their lives.
It is helpful to understand that at the root of suicidal thoughts or behavior is often a very serious mental illness. Depression is usually linked to suicide but other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder may be the underlying cause. Getting a diagnosis can be a helpful first step in addressing someone’s thoughts of suicide.
Certain people have a higher risk of suicide such as those who have a family history of suicide, are exposed to suicidal behavior or have had a prior suicide attempt. Knowing the risk factors, being aware of any warning signs and finding resources for mental health treatment can help prevent you or someone you know from taking their own life. Suicide hotlines can be a useful first step, but ultimately long term treatment is necessary to truly prevent suicide.