Pictured is a postcard from "To Write Love On Her Arms" an organization that aims to bring awareness to mental health issues. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in people ages 10-34
Health professional points out potential warning signs
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in individuals ages 10-34, right behind accidental deaths. Sept. 8-14, 2019, is National Suicide Prevention Week, and health professionals around the nation are spreading awareness to help people spot the warning signs of suicide.
Ottoville’s Certified Nurse Practitioner Justin Laudick said there are many ways a person can receive help if they are feeling suicidal. He also provided examples of potential warning signs that families and friends can look out for if they suspect a loved one may be contemplating suicide.
“They start to not enjoy the things they normally would enjoy – someone who likes to go out and eat a lot, maybe they don’t go out anymore,” said Laudick. “If they are going to family events, maybe they aren’t socializing the way they normally would. The things they enjoy doing, they give up. Maybe you start noticing that they have different tendencies such as skipping work when they used to not do that, or they are eating unhealthy things and being unhealthy when they normally wouldn’t be unhealthy.”
Laudick said that actions can be very subtle, but that there are typically signs of a change.
If a family or a friend is worried that a loved one may immediately hurt themselves, Laudick urged people to call 9-1-1.
“If there is some potential that they might act on a thought, loved ones need to take care of that right away,” he said. Laudick also runs EMS for Ottoville Fire. “Far too often, when we find someone that has actually committed suicide, they have shown those warning signs before that. They may have even told somebody that they were thinking about it; they actually reached out for help, and maybe they weren’t taken seriously. There’s a lot of regrets when that happens.”
Laudick said if the person isn’t at immediate risk for self-harm, he highly suggested family and friends encourage the person to seek help from their family medical provider who can refer them to resources.
“We see a lot of people who are depressed all the time,” said Laudick. “We have a lot of resources in the community.”
Laudick said that in his office (Van Wert Health’s Ottoville office) they can refer people to Putnam County’s Pathways Counseling Center, Van Wert’s Westwood Behavioral Health, or even locations in Lima depending on where they live to get more extensive help.
“Counselors can help with behavioral processes,” said Laudick. “Sometimes it boils down to finding a good support group like family and friends.”
Laudick noted that anti-depressants can work for some individuals who live with suicidal thoughts, but noted that medication can sometimes make people feel worse before they feel better, which is why he makes sure patients have an action plan that includes another trusted individual who can help them through their situation.
“Medications we use can actually make you feel better and try to get some of those thoughts out of your head,” said Laudick.
Laudick encourages those who feel depressed or suicidal to get outside and get active.
“We find a lot that the ones that are most depressed are the ones that have the least amount of physical activity,” said Laudick. “Being outside makes you feel so much better.”
In 2017, over 47,000 people in the United States died by suicide, according to the National Institute for Mental Health. There were more than twice as many suicides in 2017 than homicides.
If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out. Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). People are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Original article courtesy of the Times Bulletin
Van Wert City Schools is partnered with Safe School Helpline, a 24/7 anonymous reporting hotline. If you or someone you know has thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call 1-800-4-1-VOICE, ext: 359 (418-6423). For more information, please visit our Safe School Helpline webpage.