Friday, March 19, 2010

Suicide Prevention – What You Should Know

By Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.

More Americans die as a result of suicide than from homicide. What can you do to minimize the risk of suicide for your family and friends? I was recently interviewed by US News and World Report on this important topic.

The vast majority of people who die by suicide have depression, chemical dependency or another underlying psychiatric condition – all of which are treatable. My advice to people is not to suffer in silence, but to seek treatment.

And, if your loved one appears depressed, encourage him or her to get professional help. If someone expresses thoughts about hurting themselves, take this seriously. If a person has chest pain, you take them to an ER to be evaluated by a physician. If a person has suicidal thoughts – they should also receive a careful evaluation and treatment.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to treat people who attempted suicide but fortunately were not successful. These people have an important perspective in common: with treatment, once their depression lifted or once they began to recover from chemical dependency, they were thankful to be alive and happy that their suicide attempt was unsuccessful. The key point is that with help, there’s hope. And with help we can prevent the tragedy of a suicide.

If You or Someone You Know Is in Crisis and Needs Immediate Help
  • Call your physician’s office.
  • Call 911 for emergency services.
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.

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