September is Suicide Awareness Month, a time to be aware of the risk of suicide in our community and nation. Anyone can struggle with thoughts of suicide and these thoughts can occur at any time, whether the person appears to be going through a hard time or appears to have a perfect life. In 2017 there were 47,173 deaths by suicide in the United States and 479 deaths by suicide in Iowa according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Often people who struggle with suicidal thoughts also struggle with depression. Depression looks different for every individual. Every person will have different symptoms and not all individuals with depression will experience all symptoms. Depression often involves strong feelings of sadness, a lack of interest in things the individual usually enjoyed doing, fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts about death or suicide.
What can you do to help someone who is struggling with depression? Be there for them. Be supportive. Remind them you love and care for them. Let them know it’s okay to struggle. One of the things I hear most often as an intake therapist is a concern that they are crazy or that their friends and family won’t understand. Remind them of how much you care and help them find appropriate mental health care. Ask them directly if they are thinking about killing themselves. If someone tells you they are having suicidal thoughts, take them seriously. Call a crisis line for help or take them to the hospital if they are actively struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide Facts and Figures: Iowa 2019. Retrieved from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#IowaLeave a reply →