How to get help for someone who might be suicidal


Suicide rates are climbing in almost every state in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which announced the "troubling" trend Thursday.

Deb Stone, a behavioral scientist at the CDC and the lead author on the report, told HuffPost these state trends are "concerning and indicate that the problem is getting worse". You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Kansas at 785-841-2345, or 800-273-8255.

"We can't rationalize an irrational mind", she said. "But we know it's multiple factors, and the data just don't tell us specifically which one". Among middle-age people across the country, marriage rates have declined, and social isolation has increased.

Nevada is the only state that didn't show an increase, but its rate was consistently high throughout the study period, the researchers noted. It's up everywhere. And we know that the rates are actually higher than what's reported.

Of those who took their own lives, fewer than half had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, the report says.

For example, if you are anxious someone is feeling suicidal, don't be afraid to ask the question and "open the conversation", Summers said. But local mental health advocates said they are also seeing younger people struggling with suicidal impulses.

There are financial and structural impediments to seeking help, but there are also cultural barriers.

Among those who committed suicide who did not have a known psychiatric condition, 84 percent were men and 16 percent were women.

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"Most people that either attempt or complete suicide, they aren't so much wanting to die as they want to be out of the pain they are in", Summers said.

There is a gender factor that really shows in this study.

"If a truck is barreling down the road about to hit someone, we're going to do what's possible to help them", Carpenter said. "Men and Hispanics especially are less likely to seek help". "In places where exposure to guns is higher, more people die of suicide". Percentage increases over this time ranged from just under 6 percent in DE to over 57 percent in North Dakota.

"Most states don't even have their own statewide hotline", said Jessica Stohlmann-Rainey, the support-line supervisor for Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners.

Prevention efforts are best done when "people can get help solving the underlying drivers of the problems causing them to feel hopeless and despair", Stuber said. "There are many different circumstances and factors that contribute to suicide".

Although suicide is often attributed exclusively to mental health conditions, it is rarely caused by a single factor, the researchers said. About 45 percent were dealing with relationship problems or loss, about 51 percent experienced life stressors, and about 33 percent encountered recent crises.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests removing means to suicide such as guns or pills; talking openly on the topic and asking a person if they are having thoughts of suicide; asking what you can do to help and then carefully listening to the answer.