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Suicide Prevention: It’s Everyone’s Business

Published in Behavioral Health Services, Women's Services, Mental Health, Men's Health, For the Health of It Author: Lisa Bershok, CentraCare Suicide Prevention Program Manager

According to the National Institutes of Health, 10 million U.S. adults have serious thoughts of suicide every year. In Minnesota, suicide is currently the eighth leading cause of death and suicide rates have been rising over the last 20 years. Suicidal thoughts and behavior are like any other medical emergency, they need immediate treatment. Suicide Prevention Education can make a difference and you can help.

Almost 50 years ago, the public began to be trained in CPR. It allowed non-health care professionals to learn life saving techniques to recognize someone in cardiac arrest, know the steps to keep the person alive, and connect the person with professional health care providers for treatment. Suicide Prevention Education can provide the same information to the public: recognize the warning signs of suicide, know how to engage the person at risk, and connect the person with professional treatment. The same as CPR, knowledge can save lives, and anyone can become trained. Education and treatment are key to suicide prevention.

Suicide Prevention Education also addresses myths about suicide. One of the myths is that talking about suicide encourages people to think about it. We know that thoughts of suicide can isolate people from their friends and family members. Individuals who have suicidal thoughts often report feeling relieved to be able to discuss their thoughts and symptoms. Having a direct conversation about suicide creates an open and safe space for the person at risk to be supported and connected with treatment.

Who can benefit from Suicide Prevention Education? Everyone.

Eighty percent of individuals who die by suicide are of working age, so suicide prevention education in the workplace can be beneficial. If an individual is part of a faith community, they are more likely to speak with their faith leader first before connecting with a mental health professional if they are experiencing mental health symptoms or having suicidal thoughts. Therefore, faith communities can play a large role in suicide prevention. Schools can focus on preventative education for their students and staff.

Certain industries and groups of people are at heightened risk of suicide, such as the construction industry, farmers/ranchers, veterans and individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Also, 70 percent of individuals who die by suicide are men. Likely, you know individuals who fall in these higher risk groups. If you do, Suicide Prevention Education could help you support a loved one or a friend, if they were ever to experience suicidal thoughts or mental health symptoms.

Finally, suicidal thoughts and mental health symptoms are treatable. Being trained to recognize warning signs, knowing how to talk to someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, and how to connect them to treatment can support the person at-risk of suicide, their family, friends, and our communities. People can recover from suicidal thoughts the same way you can recover from a heart attack. Our communities need trained responders. This is why Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business. To learn more about suicide warning signs, please visit Take5toSaveLives.org.

Request a Training

CentraCare is committed to supporting suicide prevention efforts by offering free training on a variety of suicide prevention and mental health awareness topics to community groups, workplaces, faith communities or schools.

For more information, please contact:
Lisa Bershok, MSW, LICSW
Suicide Prevention Program Manager
320-251-2700, ext. 23793
Lisa.Bershok@centracare.com

Support Community Suicide Prevention Education

You can help. CentraCare Foundation’s community campaign will support free community training on Suicide Prevention. Until Dec. 31, any new gift will double thanks to a $100,000 match from Design Electric, a local commercial electrical contractor. All matching gift proceeds will be used for suicide prevention and education. (Your gift will go to the fund of your choice.) To donate, please visit www.CentraCare.com/Foundation.

This blog post is not monitored. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, click here to find your local Minnesota county crisis hotline, or text “MN” to Crisis Text 741-741.