State pushes suicide prevention plan|
As suicide rates rise across the country, the Minnesota Health Department is
working to create a statewide suicide prevention plan.
Prompted by a call to action by the U.S. surgeon general, the Minnesota
project is funded by state legislation. It is fueled by national statistics
such as these:
Symptoms signal depression
- About 30,000 people commit suicide each year.
- The No. 1 cause of suicide is untreated depression.
- About 80 percent of people with depression can be successfully treated,
but only 30 percent seek help.
- Of that number, slightly more than half are accurately diagnosed and
receive appropriate treatment.
If at least four of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, a doctor or
psychiatrist should be consulted:
- Persistent sad or "empty" mood.
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic, or guilty.
- Substance abuse.
- Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex.
- Disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Irritability, crying, anxiety and panic attacks.
Look for suicidal signs
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Thoughts or plans of suicide.
- Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
Ask these questions
- Increasing depression, uncommunicativeness and withdrawal.
- Final arrangements, such as giving possessions away.
- Risk-taking, or self-destructive behaviors.
- Sudden elevated mood, which can provide the energy to end one's life.
- Pre-suicidal statements about suicide, hopelessness or death.
Take these actions
- "Are you thinking of suicide?"
- "Do you have a plan? A means or method?"
- Take charge. Arrange for professional treatment.
- Do not leave the person alone.
- If the crisis appears acute, dial 911.
- Recognize you cannot control all the outcomes.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education.