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Mental Health Moment

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 1:40 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 2:44 PM


Even in our rural area of Texas, suicide is a major public health concern, and the pandemic has only added more emotionally distress for some people.  Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable.  Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives!

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. Suicidal behavior is complex, and there is no single cause. Many different factors contribute to someone making a suicide attempt.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

Talking about:

♦ Wanting to die

♦ Great guilt or shame

♦ Being a burden to others


♦ Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live

♦ Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage

♦ Unbearable emotional or physical pain

Changing behavior, such as:

♦ Making a plan or researching ways to die

♦ Withdrawing from family and friends, saying good bye, giving away important possessions, or making a will

♦ Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast

♦ Displaying extreme mood swings

♦ Eating or sleeping more or less

♦ Using drugs or alcohol more often

♦ Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

These warning signs are especially noteworthy in the context of:

♦ A recent death or suicide of a friend or family member

♦ A recent break-up or conflict with a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, parents

♦ News reports or family history of other suicides

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible -- particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

Here are five steps you can take to #BeThe1To help someone in emotional pain:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741

Risk Factors

♦ People most at risk tend to share specific characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:

♦ Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder

♦ Certain medical conditions

♦ Chronic pain

♦ A prior suicide attempt

♦ Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse

♦ Family history of suicide

♦ Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse

♦ Having unsecured guns or other firearms in the home

♦ Having recently been released from prison or jail

♦ Being exposed to others' suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities

Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention, and should not be ignored.

Often, family and friends are the first to recognize the warning signs of suicide and can be the first step toward helping an at-risk individual find treatment with someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.

It is always good to reach out for help! 

Mimi H. Wright, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

For more information about the Behavioral Health Department, please visit our services page.  To set up an appointment to speak to a health care professional, please call 254-675-8621, ext. 7853.

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