Please see the below letter to the editor. If you have any questions, please contact Kayla Hannemann at Kayla@prwithimpact.com.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so this is a good time to reflect on the depth of the problem as well as ways to help. In recent years, suicide rates have reached an all-time high, with a death by suicide occurring every 11 minutes. Suicide is mostly linked to depression which affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background – one in six people will experience depression at some time in their life. Fortunately, suicidality and depression are treatable, and people can get better. In fact, statistics show that people who survive a suicide attempt usually don’t try again. There are also very effective treatments for depression including medication and therapy, though medication and therapy together are most effective.
But what should you do if you feel a family member or loved one is at risk? Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of suicidal thoughts, including extreme mood swings, withdrawal from activities that previously brought the individual joy, isolation from friends and family, and sleeping too much or too little. Many people who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide do not seek help, so listening to them and helping them get connected to support, treatment, and crisis hotlines is important.
People tend to feel less depressed and anxious when they know there is someone who will listen to them without judgement and be present. If you continue to have concerns, no matter how small, do not take chances. Reach out to us at Coordinated Behavioral Health Services (CBHS); we have treatment providers throughout the Hudson Valley region who can help. You can also call or share 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Hotline. Do not hesitate to find help for yourself or someone you care about. There is hope and people who can help!
Mark Sasvary, Ph.D., LCSW
Chief Clinical Officer