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Tools for addressing depression and suicide

Last Modified: 9/10/2020

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the observance is more important now than ever before. In any given year, at any given time, an estimated 1 in 5 people will report identifying as anxious or depressed at some point in the year. During this COVID-19 pandemic, that number has jumped to 2 in 5 people.

People who are feeling anxious or depressed try to withdraw in normal situations, but in this time of isolation and social distancing, it can be difficult to identify changes in an individual’s social behavior. We are having less contact. It’s very important to keep connections. If you typically visit Grandma on Sundays, be sure to reach out, even if it’s virtually.

We know that, historically, during times of trouble or stress for our communities, instances of suicide go up. The signs of trouble can vary, but include:

  • Withdraw from normal activities
  • A change in grades or work performance
  • Using substances more, including drugs and alcohol
  • Displaying more anger or having outbursts
  • Coping with the loss of a loved one, job or beloved pet

These are all things to be concerned about, but really any change in behavior is worth addressing. If someone says something alarming, such as, “I can’t go on,” or “No one would miss me,” you shouldn’t ignore their comments.  

Depression

Often, we worry about asking people if they are, in fact, considering suicide. We think that if we bring it up, and they aren’t planning on it, it will put the idea in their mind. The truth is, asking about their intentions brings relief. Don’t be afraid to ask the question. If you can’t ask it, find someone who can.

For years, Parkview has worked to provide QPR training. This stands for question, persuade and refer, and is a method for recognizing signs of potential suicide risk and connecting people with the right level of help and resources. The goal is to get these individuals feeling better. During these times of separation, it can be more difficult to pick up on the signs, have the conversations and be proactive in getting others help. We have to be intentional in paying attention to our own feelings, as well as those we care about.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression, or considering suicide, please contact the Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine at 260-373-7500 or 800-284-8439, any time, 24 hours a day. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or call 911.

 

 

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