By Kevin Drollinger , President and Executive Director, Provident Behavioral Health
As experts in child advocacy, members of MCCA are well aware of the alarming trends in suicide among young people. It’s the tenth leading cause of death state-wide and the second leading cause of death for Missourians ages 10 to 24. It is a battle that intensifies as we lose more children and parents, spouses and grandparents, friends, neighbors, and employees with each passing day.
This is why it is crucial for everyone in our industry to arm themselves with suicide prevention knowledge.
The first step to helping those in crisis are to recognize the warning signs of suicide. These include:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, “almost 40% of Missouri suicide victims had a known mental health problem but only 28% had a history of treatment and just 20% were currently being treated.” This means there are a lot of people struggling who aren’t connecting with the support they need.
In response, I encourage you to keep a list of resources in your area that can assist when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. (Provident is available to help 24/7, every single day by calling 314-647-4357 or through the National Crisis Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)
Finally, I encourage you and your team members to visit the Provident website and take our suicide prevention training course. This free, hour-long program includes four videos of valuable information that both satisfies state requirements and can provide you with the tools you need to make a life-saving difference.