An upcoming event delivers a whole lot of much needed awareness to an issue that affects us all.
Few have been untouched by the heartbreak of losing someone to suicide. On Monday March 13th Corewell Health Gerber Hospital will be offering a free screening of the award winning film “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”.
The film features some of the world’s leading suicide prevention experts and shines a light on people who are using personal experiences with suicide to help others find the hope they need.
We posed a few questions on the subject to Denise Russo-Starback, Clinical Services Director at Newaygo Mental Health. Ms. Russo-Starback has been a practicing clinician for 26 years.
Who are most at risk for suicide?
In 2022, according to SAMHSA-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, middle aged people, especially males in the United States, had the highest rate of suicide compared to other groups. Eighty percent of all deaths by suicide in the United States are among women and men ages 45-54. In the year 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death for young persons between the ages of 10-24 years. Other at-risk populations also identified include older adults, specifically males aged 85 years and above, Alaskan natives, especially young males and young American Indian men are also at higher risk for suicide as compared to other groups. One death by suicide in the United States occurs every 11 minutes.
Is everyone who is suicidal depressed?
Not everyone who is suicidal suffers from depression. Suicidal ideation (SI) can be one symptom of Major Depression and depression associated with Bipolar Disorder. Suicide can also occur in people with other identified mental illnesses or in persons with no mental illness at all.
Why do people become suicidal?
People can become suicidal for various reasons, some of which include relationship problems, family conflict, school and social pressures, discovering one’s identity and other life stressors such as criminal/legal issues, homelessness, death of a loved one, physical illness, abuse, trauma, rejection or an impending crisis.
What is the most effective treatment for people who are suicidal?
Although there are numerous successful treatments available, there is no single approach or treatment that is universally effective. Different treatment approaches have different efficacy for different disorders that people may have. Inpatient and Outpatient therapeutic options are used to help those experiencing suicidal ideation (SI). Two common therapies available to persons with SI are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). CBT aims to help people with their ability to recognize when their thoughts might become a problem and gives them techniques to help redirect those thoughts. DBT helps people to find ways to accept themselves, to feel safe and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially harmful behaviors. Simply stated, both of these therapies aim to help people deal with overwhelming problems and intense emotions.
Biofeedback Neurotherapy is also an electrical stimulation approach/therapy used to help with the brain’s repair process. This intervention is designed to help the person recognize their own brain state and learn how to control it in order to help reduce symptoms of depression, stress and other issues.
Medications can be and are often used in conjunction with other therapies in the treatment of depression and other disorders that can lead to suicidal ideation.
What interventions beyond health care reduce suicide risk?
Other interventions or preventative steps that can be considered to help reduce the risk of suicide and suicidal ideation include reaching out to loved ones and friends, doing things that you enjoy, avoiding drug and alcohol use, journaling, seeking professional help, developing and following a safety plan and/or attending a support group. Self-care strategies are also an important part of prevention. Areas of focus should include the mind, body, soul and one’s surroundings. The following is a list of examples in each of these areas. Specific to one’s mind, having a daily routine can be helpful as can be journaling and/or finding ways to express your feelings. Develop a new skill or complete a project. Set daily goals for yourself. Exercise, having a sleep routine and eating healthy is good for the body. Take a nap. Take a shower. Feed your soul by reaching out to others, follow feel good social media, set boundaries and ask for help. Make your space one that is safe and comfy. Display things that you like to look at and that make you feel happy and positive and/or watch your favorite movie or tv show. It is not selfish to take care of oneself. Even the simplest, ordinary things can be self-care. Those who are struggling with suicidal ideation can learn how to cope, find joy and keep themselves alive.
Why should I attend this upcoming program?
It is our hope that this program/film will bring awareness and light to the ongoing mental health crisis as well as emphasize all of the efforts being made that are helping people fight through suicidal ideation and stay alive. The story of Kevin Hines describes his personal journey and the ripple effect it has caused. He is using his story to help and inspire others through a message of hope and healing.
Thank you Ms. R-S.
Please make plans to attend this free program. It could save a life.
Here’s the skinny