Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month and Decatur County Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions is working to raise awareness and educate the community on the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Talk of suicide should never be dismissed. If you, or someone you know, are thinking of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit the DCH lobby during the month of September to pick up informational materials about suicide. (Visitors will be required to wear a mask, use one of our temperature screening kiosks upon entry, and will be limited to visiting the DCH lobby.)

Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy and teletherapy program designed to meet the unique needs of senior adults living with symptoms of age-related depression or anxiety, dealing with difficult life transitions, a recent health diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one.

Due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, the Senior Life Solutions program at Decatur County Hospital now offers teletherapy for patients who wish to stay in the comfort of their own home but remain connected. Through the use of a computer, tablet, or phone with video capabilities, our therapy team can connect with patients through an Internet connection. Using video conferencing software, patients can virtually attend therapy sessions without visiting the hospital. This technology allows patients to maintain connections to the Senior Life Solutions staff and other program members until such time they are comfortable attending in-person sessions. Click here to learn more about teletherapy.

Rosie Mitchell, LMSW, Senior Life Solutions Program Therapist, said, “It is important to reach people early.  We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but by educating our community we hope we can show people that it is okay to reach out and ask for help for themselves or a loved one.”

According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide and they are important to be aware of.

Several risk factors may include: 1) A pre-existing mental disorder. 2) Alcohol or substance use disorder. 3) Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies. 4) Major physical illness. 5) Job or financial loss. 6) Loss of relationship(s). 7) Access to lethal means. 8) Lack of social support and sense of isolation.

Mitchell added, “The stigma associated with asking for help and a lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment, can also pose as risk factors to an individual.  We work to lessen the stigma and increase access to behavioral healthcare.”

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline also states that knowing these warning signs may help determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide: 1) Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves. 2) Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun. 3) Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. 4) Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain. 5) Talking about being a burden to others. 6) Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. 7) Acting anxious or agitated; and/or behaving recklessly. 8) Sleeping too little or too much. 9) Withdrawing or isolating themselves. 10) Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge. 11) Extreme mood swings.

For more information, or if an older loved one is in need of help, call Decatur County Hospital Senior Life Solutions program at (641) 446-2320 or visit www.decaturcountyhospital.org/sls.

To learn more about Decatur County Hospital and our available services, please visit www.decaturcountyhospital.org, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @DecaturCountyHospitalIowa, or Twitter @dch_iowa.

##

ABOUT SENIOR LIFE SOLUTIONS

Founded in 2003, Senior Life Solutions is managed by Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC), a leading behavioral healthcare management company.  Focused on addressing the needs of rural and underserved communities, PMC manages inpatient behavioral health units, intensive outpatient programs, and telehealth services in more than 25 states. The company’s services provide evaluation and treatment for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, memory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other behavioral health problems.  For more information, visit www.seniorlifesolutions.com