Expert says awareness about suicide can stop it from happening

As suicide rates sky rocket across the country, experts want to urge people to learn about the warning signs to prevent the trend from continuing.

Within the past three months, two adult women tried to commit suicide at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall. One of the two women diedthe other is in critical condition.

Leon Tomas says suicide is preventable.

“I had a cousin who I lost to suicide and he was very close to me,” said Tomas.

Leon works is the President of the People of Color Network – an outreach program for healthy communities.

Leon believes it’s important to talk about suicide and how to spot warning signs in order to prevent it from happening.

“It’s better to air on helping and getting past that fear of meddling in their life  -- I’d rather a loved one with upset at me because I sought help and be here today,” said Leon.

Leon offered three suicide prevention tips:

  1. Speak up if you’re worried, let the person know you’re worried.
  2. Respond quickly in a crisis
  3. Offer help and support

Leon also provided ABC15 with the following suicide warning signs:

  • Talking about suicide.
  • Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as "I wish I hadn't been born," "If I see you again..." and "I'd be better off dead."
  • Seeking out lethal means.
  • Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
  • No hope for the future.
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped ("There's no way out"). Belief that things will never get better or change.
  • Self-loathing, self-hatred.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden ("Everyone would be better off without me").
  • Getting affairs in order.
  • Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
  • Saying goodbye.
  • Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
  • Self-destructive behavior.
  • Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a "death wish."
  • Sudden sense of calm.
  • A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.
  • There are court intervention programs, where a judge can place person under involuntary hold until they get help.

In Mesa, Banner Desert Medical center has a judge on call. If you're worried about someone committing suicide and bring them to the hospital -- you can expedite the court process.

National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255


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