September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and every Nebraskan has a role in saving lives. In Nebraska, a person dies by suicide once every 32 hours. Thankfully, many survive their attempts, and it’s important to realize that you are not alone, there is help, support, and treatment available.
“Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus on sharing resources that can help someone experiencing a crisis,” said Tony Green, Interim Director of Behavioral Health for the Department of Health and Human Services. “Talking about how you are feeling can help alleviate some of your distress. It is important to recognize the value of seeking help from a mental health professional or a trained crisis counselor at 988.”
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health challenges, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. Family and friends are often the first to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and they can take the first step toward helping a loved one find mental health treatment.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, such as making a will
- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If you or a loved one needs assistance in a crisis, seek immediate help by calling, texting, or chatting 988.
988 is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. 988 provides a direct connection to trained, compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health-related crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. 988 is available 24/7 and is a free service available to anyone experiencing a mental health-related crisis. Any Nebraskan can call or text 988 and be connected to a trained counselor. If you have a loved one that you are concerned about, 988 counselors can provide assistance. Help is available. You could save a life by making the call.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please remember that you are not alone and support and help are available. You deserve to feel supported. Some people find it helpful to create a “safety plan”. This tool is developed to help you navigate suicidal thoughts or feelings. Visit https://www.mysafetyplan.org/ for more information.
If you have a friend or loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or crisis, it is important to know that there are ways to show that you care by reaching out and supporting them. When someone tells you they are suicidal, you must take them seriously. Try to use clear and direct language, for example, “I care a lot about you, what can I do to help you?” It is not about coming up with solutions, but about listening to the person and supporting them as they explore options for seeking help and safety. Encourage help-seeking behavior and help them get connected to professional support. It is also critical that you look after your own mental health and well-being and seek support of your own if you need help.
Help promote and support Suicide Prevention Awareness Month resources to help strengthen well-being across our communities in Nebraska. Downloadable materials for use by the public can be found at https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/988-Suicide-and-Crisis-Lifeline.aspx and at https://988lifeline.org/promote-national-suicide-prevention-month/.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis? Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:
- The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; call, text, or chat 988.
- Your faith-based leader, healthcare professional, or student health center on campus.
- Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660.
- Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).