What does a suicidal person look like? I have been spending a lot of time recently learning about suicide. While it may not be the most uplifting thing to study, it is so important! Did you know that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States? According to the National Institute for Mental Health, the number of suicides in the United States this year was double the number of homicides- yikes.
But how do we recognize a suicidal person? Are they the ones acting depressed all the time? Do they wear dark clothes and quote death metal? That’s the scariest part of them all- they look just like our neighbors, friends, and relatives. That’s because the suicidal person may just be a neighbor, friend, or relative. Suicidal thoughts do not discriminate based on age, gender, race, job, socioeconomic status- anything. According to NIMH, the suicide rate in gentlemen is highest in those ages 65 and older, and in females it was in those ages 45-54. Males and females had suicidal thoughts at approximately the same rate.
So what do we do with this information? How do we help our friends, neighbors, and relatives that may be struggling?
First of all, be willing to listen. Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is listen to someone who is hurting.
Second of all, help refer them to one of the many resources available to help:
Muskegon Help Line: 231-722-HELP
National Hotline: 1-800-273-8522
Emergency Dispatch: 911
Third of all, refer them to a long term counselor who will help them learn that life is worth living, and help them fight against the deep dark places that call them in. I am well trained in helping a suicidal individual, and I would love to help your family member, friend, or even you! Please do not hesitate to give me a call. Together, we can find the people who so desperately need the help!