As I’ve written about before, just like a cold, suicide can be contagious. Youth suicide increases after a death in school settings and suicide rates often increase after looked-up-to public figures take their lives. As many people know, this week, both the very accomplished clothing and accessory designer, Kate Spade, and renowned chef and television star, Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide. Knowing that thoughts and emotions might get stirred up by this news, I would like to remind everyone that people do overcome pain and suffering, and you can get help! If you need help right now, call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone anonymously.
If you’re concerned about someone you love or care about, here are a few of the warning signs and risk factors to help you know what to look out for:
- Verbal or digital threats of suicide
- Withdrawing from friends and activities, isolating oneself
- Reckless behavior
- Stressful life events like divorce or financial crisis
Here are more resources to learn about warning signs and risk factors:
- Knowing When to Help - Sheppard Pratt Health System
- Borderline Personality Disorder - National Institute of Mental Health
- Risk Factors and Warning Signs - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed - The New York Times
Additionally, here are a few tips if you know someone who might be suicidal:
- Do talk openly and directly. Don’t beat around the bush.
- Do listen. Don’t do most of the talking. Don’t talk about yourself.
- Do be non-judgmental. Don’t lecture on right and wrong.
- Do show support with your actions. Reach out again.
- Do offer to help them find help. Do find help for yourself also.
For more information, call 1-800-273-8255 or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Here are some other helpful resources if you need help now or someone you know someone who might be at risk of suicide:
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Veterans Crisis Line
- Crisis Text Line
- Now Matters Now
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Andrea Barrocas Gottlieb, PhD, is the DBT Program Coordinator at Sheppard Pratt. She completed her psychology internship and postdoctoral training at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts, where she learned to implement Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with youth and adults. She has studied and published research on nonsuicidal self-injury and mood disorders in youth. Dr. Gottlieb helps Sheppard Pratt implement DBT more widely through program development and staff training.