It’s Suicide Prevention Week – Resources Are Available
ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.
After reporting a slight dip during the pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Health is showing an increase in suicides statewide. 808 deaths in 2021 and 835 deaths in 2022 can be attributed to suicides.
Doctor Steven Loos is the Chief Clinical Officer at the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. He says the key to preventing suicide is to know the warning signs.
We know that (suicide) is really common in our community. But what are we looking for? It's certainly tied with all mental health conditions, but most clearly tied with depression. So if you see someone who's really sad and despondent, having a hard time getting through day-to-day life, that's going to be our first risk factor.
Other warning signs include:
- saying goodbye to family and friends,
- giving away belongings,
- talking extensively about death.
Dr. Loos stresses that a myth sometimes stands between someone considering suicide and their friends and family.
(Many believe) If you ask about suicide, you're going to put this idea in their head or their heart. And that isn't true at all right? It is okay to be direct, compassionate, and caring, and ask directly if they've been thinking about harming themselves. I think a lot of people want to have that conversation, but they don't know how to start it. I think that when we ask from a caring, compassionate place without judgment, and we have that relationship, they will absolutely talk to us about it.
Loos says a toolkit for anyone worried about suicide in their friends and family can be found on the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center website.
If you are thinking about suicide or struggling with other problems, a local crisis line (320-253-5555) is available at any time.