Mind Matters: Recognize the signs of suicidal behavior and then act, either for yourself or others

Photo by kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

FEATURE — Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, having risen 24 percent over the last fifteen years, particularly among teenagers, and Utah is no different.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the leading cause of death among individuals in Utah ages 10-24 and the second-highest cause of death among individuals ages 24-44. As suicide is becoming more prevalent, it is vital that individuals learn how to recognize the warning signs as well as how to react when someone becomes suicidal.

Know the warning signs of suicide

Knowing and paying attention to warning signs can be key to helping an individual in a mental health crisis.  The following list from UtahSuicidePrevention provides a good reference of warning signs for individuals at risk for suicide.

  • Increased substance use.
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life.
  • Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time.
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society.
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, revenge seeking behavior.
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking.
  • Dramatic mood changes.

Take any suicide threat seriously and call 911 if you believe there is an immediate threat.

Be “QPR” trained

Many individuals are familiar with CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver – procedures designed to help individuals until emergency response personnel arrive on the scene of the medical crisis. QPR – Question, Persuade, Respond – was developed as a way to help individuals respond to those who are suicidal.

Reach4Hope, an organization based in Washington County, offers free two-hour trainings on QPR to individuals and organizations interested in learning how they could potentially save a life.

Read more: Dixie State NAMI event reinforces goal to get 25 percent of county schooled on suicide prevention

Teresa Willie, a member of the Reach4Hope organization and a prevention specialist at Southwest Behavioral Center, said many individuals are afraid to ask their loved ones if they are suicidal.


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