MAYVILLE – In the wake of a pair of suicide attempts that reportedly took place in the Jamestown area this past week, Chautauqua County officials are reminding the public to be mindful of people who may be at risk for suicide, and also of the resources that are available.
In a media release sent out on Wednesday, health officials say suicide is a serious public health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, classmates, co-workers, and communities. Uncovering the reason for an individual suicide death is complex and challenging.
Health officials also say that 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 person that you feel is at risk that 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.
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 medical professional in their community and schedule an appointment. If you are concerned that the person is in immediate danger, call 911 or the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline at 1-800-724-0461.
Social media also offers resources to help. For example, when someone is talking or posting about suicide on Facebook, please report the post by selecting the option, ‘I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook,’ then select, ‘It’s threatening, violent or suicidal,’ and then the option, ‘Self-injury or suicide.’ You will then be able to select an option including support to your friend, reach out to a friend you trust, receive tips from suicide prevention experts on how to help, or you can select to have Facebook review the post.
“We want to stress that there is help in our community,” said Victoria Patti, Coordinator of the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “It is better to report the concern to a medical professional or call 911, than to do nothing at all or think someone else will do it. Community members need to understand and know the warning signs of suicide and be brave enough to ask the question, ‘Are you thinking of suicide?’ Those that are thinking of suicide may just want to be heard and their pain to be understood. Take all warning signs seriously and please reach out a hand; you may save a life.”
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan and Department of Mental Hygiene Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services Patricia Brinkman also stress that suicide prevention and awareness is an important topic for community conversations and there is help in the community.
“It is so important that we talk about these concerns and don’t brush them aside and hope they go away,” said Brinkman. “We need to create a community culture in which we feel comfortable in talking about mental health openly and honestly in order to receive the support and resources necessary to work towards wellness. There is still stigma surrounding the topic of mental health, and we hope to break this stigma by continuing our awareness and prevention efforts.”
“This is a serious problem we are aggressively addressing through continued trainings and other community supports available to anyone,” said Horrigan. “Help is here for anyone dealing with severe depression or life threatening behavioral health issues.”
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 a serious 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
- UPMC Chautauqua WCA Outpatient Mental Health Program, Dunkirk: (716) 664-8641
- The Resource Center Mental Health, Jamestown: (716) 661-1590, Dunkirk: (716) 366-7660
- Hospice Chautauqua County Bereavement Services (all ring into the administrative offices), 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
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.