National Suicide Prevention Week brings awareness to signs of suicide

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Sunday marked the start of National Suicide Prevention Week, a time to inform the public about the warning signs of suicide.

Suicide is preventable, which is why public health professionals encourage everyone to know the signs.

Christy Prust, health educator at UW-Eau Claire, said changes in emotions or behaviors are common signs.

“Are they feeling hopeless? Are they depressed? Are they agitated, changes in their behaviors? Are they drinking a lot? Are they doing drugs when they usually don’t? Do those types of things changes in their sleep patterns? Are they sleeping a lot? Are they not sleeping enough changes in their personality? Are they withdrawn when they’re usually social?”

According to the CDC, nearly 50-thousand people died by suicide in the U.S. last year.

If someone tells you they are struggling to thinking of taking their own life, Prust said the best thing to do is listen.

“First thing a person should do, if somebody comes to them that’s in distress in a crisis is listen. Second link that person to help,” Prust said.

Also, to continue having conversations about mental health.

“Easiest way to to start to end that stigma. Having conversations about mental health. About suicide prevention,” Prust said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the 988 lifeline saw more than 90,000 contacts in its first full year.

“Suicide is preventable. There’s help out there. People want to help when when folks are in crisis, when folks are struggling with mental health conditions. And we encourage individuals to go seek out that help. There is no shame in getting help and not even letting it get to the point of where a person is thinking about suicide,” Prust said.

If you’re uncertain or concerned that you or someone you love is at tisk of suicide, self-harm, or any other mental health crisis, you can get help 24/7 by calling or texting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.