This week, Sept. 10-16, is National Suicide Prevention Week. For some of us, it’s a time to reflect and mourn those we have lost. And for all of us, it should also be a week filled with starting conversations, taking an active role in suicide prevention, and seeking immediate help for those suffering from depression or carrying the burden of suicidal thoughts.
“Suicidal thoughts and depression can impact anyone of any age, race or gender. It does not discriminate,” said Monica A. Farrar, a licensed mental health counselor and private clinician in Williamsville. “Far too often I meet individuals and families who feel embarrassed or ashamed to openly discuss mental illness and suicide, and that needs to end. Help is available, and it may be a simple conversation that opens the door to treatment and a far better life.”
Hitting close to home
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
• Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in New York.
• On average, one person dies by suicide every five hours in the state.
• In New York, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 25 to 34, third leading cause for ages 15 to 24, fourth leading cause for ages 10 to 14 and 35 to 54, ninth leading cause for ages 55 to 64, and 18th leading cause for ages 65 and older.
And perhaps the most staggering statistic of all is this: More than twice as many people die by suicide in New York annually than by homicide.
“Doctors, family members, friends, teachers, colleagues … we can all play a role in detecting someone who may be at risk and getting that person in touch with the appropriate mental health professionals,” added Farrar. “But if the situation has reached emergency status, do not hesitate to call 911. And if it is you that is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, I urge you to take the first step toward recovery by reaching out to someone close or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and help is always available.”
While spotting signs of depression or suicide may not be easy, emergency warning signs would typically include someone threatening to hurt or kill themselves, talk of wanting to die, seeking access to weapons or other lethal items, or talking or writing about death or suicide. If you notice these signs, please call 911 right away.
Other warning signs could include hopelessness, rage, uncontrolled anger, participating in risky behavior, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends and family, anxiety, and sleep or mood changes. If you see someone exhibiting these behaviors, contact a mental health professional or hotline for direction.
For more information, to schedule an appointment locally or to have a conversation with Monica Farrar, please call 250-9831. Her office is located at 1967 Wehrle Drive, Suite 1, in Williamsville.