September is Suicide Prevention Month, and it�s about time we start talking about it:

  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes.
  • Every year 38,000 Americans take their own lives.
  • Only half of Americans experiencing major depression get professional help.

These statistics are sad, but what is even more sad is that it doesn�t have to be this way. Suicide is preventable. The single most important factor in preventing suicide is communication. Simply chatting with someone openly and honestly about mental health and the things going on in one�s life can change everything. You could save a life just by talking.

There are countless examples of saving lives with the simple act of being there to talk and listen. Kevin Briggs (also known as the Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge) recently said on WGN, �All these people need is someone to talk to.� He suffers from depression himself and today patrols the bridge asking anyone of concern the simple question of �are you here to hurt yourself?� Briggs has �saved� over 200 people from committing suicide on the bridge and even helped his own teenage son who was struggling with suicidal thoughts.

This month, the counselors at Meghan Reitz & Associates want you to know the warning signs and be someone�s hero, just by talking to them.

Seeking professional help is important if a person talks about the following:

  • Killing themselves
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain

Other warning signs include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as finding means and creating a plan
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Inappropriate aggression, rage, or frequent irritability

Signs of depression:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in things they once enjoyed or loved
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite or weight loss or gain (without trying)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

No matter how �put together� or �normal� someone may act, if you suspect any of these warning signs, it�s time to start talking! Often, suicidal individuals are afraid to open up to others, embarrassed, or worried they might be seen as �weak� or �damaged�. The best thing you can do is bring up your concerns and encourage them to seek professional help immediately. Help them to find counseling in a confidential, non-judgmental environment where trained professionals will listen to them and work with them to ease their depression and anxiety.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or know someone who is, don�t be afraid to get help. For emergencies, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital ER. Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health and Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates is a great option for those seeking help in a crisis.

To find an outpatient counselor, give us a call at MLRA. Our team of highly trained therapists would love to meet you, listen to you and begin the therapeutic process to help you enjoy life again! Call us at 847-220-7402.

Don�t wait! Start talking! Save lives!

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