MONTE VISTA - At the last Monte Vista City Council meeting the following proclamation was read from Valley Wide Health Systems: “Whereas, Sept. 2020 is Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month, when millions of people around the world join their voices to share a message of hope and healing; and whereas, these observances are united in raising awareness that prevention is possible; treatment is effective; and people do recover; and whereas in these challenging times messages of hope and healing are more needed than ever, and whereas residents should be able to access high quality prevention, support, rehabilitation, and treatment services that lead to recovery and a healthy lifestyle; and whereas resiliency begins early in life within families, day cares and schools, and can be strengthened and reinforced throughout the life span; and whereas recovery and wellness encompass the whole individual, including mind, body, spirit and community; and whereas, the benefits of preventing and overcoming mental health challenges, suicide attempts and loss, and substance use are significant and valuable to individuals, families and our community at large; and whereas it is essential that we educate residents about suicide, mental health and substance use problems and the ways they affect all people in community; and whereas we must encourage relatives, friends and co-workers, and providers to recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate services and supports; and whereas suicide Prevention Week and Recovery Month inspire millions of Americans to raise awareness, build resiliency and find hope.”
Suicide rates have been increasing over the last two decades. One recent article by Sandhya Raman stating that before the COVID-19 pandemic the nation’s suicide rate had reached historic highs with rates at the highest levels since World War II. This year with the pandemic and other economical, and social anxieties many are concerned that suicide risks will increase even more. Especially for those suffering from mental illness who have been isolated due to the COVID-19 shutdowns. It’s important to reach out to family and friends when you think of them, or if you’re concerned. A simple text or phone call could save a life. Make sure to be there for each other, you never know how much it can mean. Also, if you are someone who is feeling suicidal and are in need of help you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273- 8255. This service is 24/7, toll-free, and is available to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms and warnings of suicide:
• Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
• Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
• Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
• Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
• Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
• Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
• Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
• Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
• Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
• Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
• Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above
Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.
• When to see a doctor? - If you’re feeling suicidal, but you aren’t immediately thinking of hurting yourself:
• Reach out to a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings
• Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community
• Call a suicide hotline
• Make an appointment with your doctor, other health care provider or a mental health professional
Suicidal thinking doesn’t get better on its own — so get help.