Lady getting counsel from family member.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

It may be that someone you know, even a family member, has been affected in some way by a suicide attempt. In some cases, friends and family affected by suicide are left in the dark, feeling shame or stigma that prevents talking. 

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable.

Know the Warning Signs

We honor National Suicide Prevention Awareness this month to help our patients recognize the signs. In this very busy world, it’s easy to overlook the signs that may help you help a loved one. NAMI recommends watching for the following warning signs and behaviors:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous 
  • Increased alcohol and drug use 
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community 
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, writing or thinking about death 
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Reducing Stress Can Help Prevention

There are life altering events which can build stress. The loss of job, a sudden death, or your ability to pay bills and have a stable place to live are examples. For families with children, there can be incidences of drug or alcohol abuse or exposure to violence, which can be equally overwhelming. 

At AltaMed, we want you to know that we are here to help, and that you are not alone. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talk to your provider, who can refer you to our Behavioral Health team. One of our clinicians may be able to help you cope with life stresses and get you through. Other resources for help include:

  • Call 211 for assistance with services like housing, employment or child care Click here for LA County and here for Orange County
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline if you’re in crisis or are experiencing suicidal thoughts at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

We know the importance of suicide risk awareness and want to make sure you know that we are here to help.