by Felicia Lowe
Mental health is an important part of living an overall healthy and happy life, but many people don’t understand what the term “mental health” encompasses. Mental health involves our emotional, social, and psychological state. People who suffer from mental health disorders might experience problems with their mood or behavior. For example, they may sleep too much or too little, have mood swings that are so severe that they affect personal relationships, or begin abusing drugs or alcohol, a problem that may become so severe that it requires treatment at an alcohol or (drug rehab center).
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one out of every five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental health disorder each year, and one out of five teens will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life. Sadly, only about 41 percent of adults who suffer from a mental health condition will receive treatment. This is because people often don’t want to talk about their struggles with depression or other mental health problems because they feel ashamed or they are afraid. They may also be concerned about the stigma that can be attached to mental health disorders and the way it may make others perceive them. While there are many consequences of not receiving treatment for a mental health issue, one of the worst consequences is suicide, which is the tenth most common cause of death in the U.S. and the second most common cause of death for people ages 15-24. Because suicide is so prevalent, it is important that people become educated on the signs and symptoms of suicide, how to prevent a suicide, and what to do if someone they know attempts suicide.
Noticing the Signs
People who are contemplating suicide may exhibit signs that indicate that they are having suicidal thoughts. Some common signs are talking about death or making comments about killing themselves, giving away possessions, or engaging in harmful behaviors. While some signs may be obvious, others are more subtle but are still cause for concern. Being able to recognize who is at risk for suicide and what to watch for may help you to save a life.
Precautions You Can Take
If you are worried about someone in your life killing themselves or if you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, there are things you can do to help make a difference and avoid a suicide attempt. Probably the most important thing you can do is to take the situation seriously and get help. People often think that someone who talks about killing themselves is not serious or just seeking attention, or they may think someone else will do something about it. However, when neither of these things are true, the result is a terrible tragedy. Understanding that you can help and what you can do to help are important steps in helping to prevent suicide.
What to Do After an Attempt
Sometimes, a person does not exhibit noticeable signs that they are thinking about suicide, and sometimes, all of our best efforts to prevent an attempt fail. Coping with a suicide attempt is hard not only for the person who made the attempt but also for the friends and family who may be left feeling guilty or experiencing grief. When this is the case, there are ways you can help yourself and your loved ones move past a suicide attempt and regain mental wellness.
Other Mental Health Resources