September is Suicide Awareness Month – and this is Suicide Awareness Week. Dr. Jim Salasek says there are ways to recognize suicidal tendencies in people around you, and that you don’t have to be a specialist to help save someone’s life.
Salasek tells us “training is very important. Treatment is important. There is evidence-based treatment – these are the treatments that if you identify someone at risk, these are the treatments that we would like you to do because they’ve been shown to be very effective. Then there’s an element called engage, and that’s training people how to engage the individual who is at risk – how to ask those questions.”
He adds that “people need to be aware – treatment works. If we can identify people
early, which is the YScreen program, we can get them into treatment. We know
that it’s effective, that peoples lives improve tremendously by getting
involved in services.”
Salasek also mentions that it’s important to keep people connected to organizations that aim to help, especially if they have been admitted to a hospital for treatment. He says “individuals who are hospitalized for suicide risk are most at risk to
attempt suicide in the first week after they’re discharged from the hospital.
So you want to create systems that check on them, that keep them engaged so
that you prevent the episode.”
A national campaign called #BeThe1To encourages people to ask the tough questions, keep people safe, be with them, help connect them with support and resources, and to follow up with the person after getting them connected.