• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year. That is one person every 40 seconds. More people in the world die from suicide than by war and murder combined. What if taking action could mean saving a life? The week of Sept. 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week. The theme for 2018 is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”

Take 5 to Save Lives offers five ideas to help prevent suicide:

1. Learn the signs. The signs may not always be obvious, but individuals experiencing an emotional crisis usually exhibit one or more of the warning signs of suicide. Your ability to identify the signs will better prepare you to take action and could help save a life. Spend some time reading about the warning signs. Take training that helps identify the warning signs. Talk over the warning signs with other people.

2. Do your part. Every single one of us can play a vital role in preventing the tragedy of suicide. We are all responsible for helping to prevent suicide. Learn how you can do more to raise awareness and prevent suicide. Think about your roles in life. You might be a parent. You might be a caregiver. You might be an educator. You might be a friend. Read about how you can do your part to prevent suicide in each of these roles you play in your life.

3. Practice self-care. Research indicates that our mental fitness or wellness is crucial to our overall long-term health. It can even protect us from disease. Learn some tips for keeping mentally fit. Make it a priority in your life. Get enough sleep and exercise. Eat nutritious food. Make time for yourself and for friends and family. Ask for help when you need it.

4. Reach out. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress you must reach out for help. You are not alone. Learn about different help options and how to take that first step in seeking help and care. Talk with someone you trust. Call a hotline or crisis line. Schedule an appointment with a therapist or get involved with a support group in your community. Read positive stories of hope and recovery. Stay away from negative stories and negative people.

5. Spread the word. Let’s get people talking! Share the Take 5 campaign with other people to raise awareness about suicide. Share high-quality resources and information with others to increase awareness about suicide prevention. Join the official World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook event.

We can help equip people with easy tools to help themselves and others. Together we can all make a difference!

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