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National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Suicide attempts reflect deeper problems

People who have attempted suicide in the past, take such a step not because they want to die, but because they want relief from the feelings of overwhelming sadness or grief that they experience because of some underlying reason. At times, people who suffer from mental disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder (BD), schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), take such an extreme step to get relief from their debilitating symptoms.

Mental illnesses, especially untreated ones, can make individuals sensitive, negative and judgmental. People with mental problems tend to react to even minor incidents. These triggers can make them feel dejected and betrayed and such feelings of hopelessness can force people to take their own lives.

With the annual age-adjusted rate of suicide being 13.26 per 100,000 individuals and 44,193 people losing their lives to suicide, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the same. To reach out to those affected by suicide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) observes National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month every year in September. A person with untreated and chronic mental illnesses can exhibit symptoms of suicidal thoughts. Therefore, it is important to understand the inner turmoil experienced by such people in order to help them out and encourage them to talk.

Need to sense the feelers and help out

Michelle Stevens, a clinical psychologist, therapist, author and mental health advocate, feels that people who commit suicide do it to alleviate the intense emotional pain they feel. Further, a failed attempt means that the person was indecisive at the last moment and would not have taken the step, had help reached him/her at the right time. Thus, loved ones need to stay alert to any one close exhibiting suicidal tendencies, and keep a tab on the symptoms, so that the patients can get help as and when needed.

Need to support people with mental problems

People struggling with depression or anxiety experience feelings of guilt, worthlessness and failure. They are constantly struggling with unpleasant thoughts. And it is the quest for freedom from these thoughts that compel them to take the extreme step, said Ramani Durvasula, another clinical psychologist. She said that referring to such people as “selfish” is not acceptable. The society needs to understand their plight and support such individuals.

Talking can help bring relief

Similarly, Denee Jordan, marriage and family therapist, motivational speaker and author, felt that people who never have had suicidal thoughts, will never be able to understand what goes on in the mind of an individual who does. This is partly because suicide is a decision that a person takes not because he/she is feeling bad, but because the person has reached the limit of his/her tolerance.

According to Lyn Morris, vice president of clinical operations at the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, it is important to talk to the person contemplating suicide. Discussing what the individual is feeling, without being judgmental, can bring relief to the suffering person. Just listening to the affected individual is a big help in itself. It can put him/her at ease and may also enable him/her to seek treatment.

Seeking help for mental disorders

Past suicide attempts mean that there are deeper and unresolved mental health issues that need immediate attention and treatment. Sovereign Health, a leading mental disorder treatment center, understands that treating a mental illness requires a compassionate, yet, a determined approach. Having qualified for the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for several years, Sovereign’s patients have self-reported a marked improvement in their symptoms and functional deficits from admission to discharge.

If you or a loved one is battling a mental disorder and is looking for a credible mental health rehabilitation center, Sovereign Health can help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-969-5557 or chat online to find out which mental health treatment program is the most suitable for you.

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