GREENSBORO, N.C. — Here is a startling thought, suicide rates are up in almost every state in America including North Carolina. It is the number 10 cause of death in the U.S. and there is one suicide every six hours in our state.
Cone Health Counselor Jenny Edminson with the Behavioral Health Hospital joined us on WFMY News 2 at 5.
She says suicide is something that is hard to talk about and that people are quick to sweep it under the rug because they don't want to believe people close to them could be having these kind of problems.
Any time suicidal thoughts are voiced, you need to start by believing and the go from there.
Edminson says to also not focus on the theatrical kind of expectations that suicidal thoughts look like. Common red flags are any kind of change in behavior where they are giving away things that are valuable or important to them, any behavior where they are withdrawing or isolating themselves, and comments such as "I wish I didn't wake up this morning" or "No one cares about me."
So how do you approach someone you think might be struggling?
1. Lead with support. You always want to reiterate you are there for them and that you care about them.
2. Don't make them do the heavy lifting. People who are having suicidal thoughts are already working at a deficit. Give them the hard questions. Don't be afraid to ask them if they are having suicidal thoughts.
3. If they say yes, ask follow-up questions. Do they have a plan? How they thought about how? Have they thought about when?
4. If they say yes to any of the follow-up questions, get them help right away. Stay with them and help along the way.
The most important thing to remember is support.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline:
- 1-800-950-6264 (NAMI)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or Text "HOME" to 741741
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline:
- 1-800-662- 4357 (HELP)
National Drug Helpline