Look for signs of suicidal thoughts

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Suicide is becoming a leading cause of death within the United States. It is also a problem here in Pearl River County. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in 2016 within the nation, totaling 45,000 cases.

Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said that from January to December of 2017, 14 deaths in the county were ruled as suicide. So far this year, there have been three fatalities ruled as suicide, he said.  In a majority of those cases, depression was said to be a contributing factor, Turnage said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Turnage said people contemplating suicide must seek help from the several local and national resources available.

Some contributing factors for suicide include substance abuse, isolation, the loss of a loved one or being the victim of abuse, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that factors that can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors should be monitored by loved ones. Individuals identified as being at-risk should be enticed to seek help.

Trish Baskin, clinical social worker at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg said individuals with suicidal tendencies usually behave differently.

Warning signs of suicidal behavior need to be addressed immediately, Baskin said.

Some of the most common changes in behavior include, displaying signs of depression for extended periods and believing they are a burden to those around them.

Other warning signs include repeatedly talking about ending their life, feelings of hopelessness and turning to alcohol and drugs without prior history. People should also look for signs that the person in question prefers isolation over the company of others and frequent mood swings, Baskin said.

The mood swings can entail the individual losing interest in the things that were once very important to them, she said.

Promoting feelings of hope among those displaying warning signs can help entice them to seek effective treatment, the SAMHSA website states.

Baskin said most people contemplating suicide want someone to notice.

“These people want someone to stop them or want a reason not to commit suicide,” Baskin said.

She said people who are considering suicide are often seeking someone to talk to and may down play their depression.

Baskin said men are more likely to go through with a suicide attempt by shooting themselves whereas women attempt to take their lives via an overdose.

She said it is important for friends and family to help that person feel it’s okay for them to seek help without the feelings of embarrassment that is often associated with treatment.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

Gulf Coast Mental Health Center has a location in Picayune and can be reached at 601-798-7001. The Center’s crisis hotline can be reached by calling 800-681-0798.