According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 38,000 Americans take their life each year and 20 percent of those deaths are military veterans.
The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention in Chautauqua County has developed a variety of helpful materials encouraging community members to “reach out a hand.” Materials were distributed to 15 providers throughout the community who have committed to sharing this message of support, empowerment, education and hope.
If you suspect someone may be at risk for suicide take it seriously. Fifty to seventy-five percent of people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention. Ask the person questions. Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them. Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.
Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted. Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know you care, they are not alone and they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.” And finally, actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately. People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide could be potentially lifesaving for an individual in crisis. They are as follows:
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself, such as 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, or behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has recently increased in frequency or intensity, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If someone you know is experiencing any of these warning signs, seek help. Resources are available. However, if in an acute emergency, dial 911 immediately.
Local Community Mental Health Resources
- Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline: 1-800-724-0461, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. Mobile Crisis Team, 5 p.m. – 9 a.m., 24 hour weekends and holidays, accessed through the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline
- Chautauqua County Mental Health Clinics, Jamestown: (716) 661-8330, Dunkirk: (716) 363-3550
- WCA Hospital Mental Health, Jamestown: (716) 664-8641
- The Resource Center Mental Health, Jamestown: (716) 661-1590, Dunkirk: (716) 366-6858
- Hospice Chautauqua County Bereavement Services, Jamestown/Lakewood: (716) 338-0033, Dunkirk/Fredonia: (716) 672-6944, Mayville: (716) 753-5383
- Mental Health Association Support and Linkages: (716) 661-9044
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Schools and other agencies interested in supporting the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s efforts and receiving suicide awareness and prevention materials should contact Chautauqua Tapestry at (716) 753-4507 to receive an order form.