It is national suicide prevention week so we will be sharing information about things you can do to help prevent suicide. Today we want to increase awareness of the warning signs of suicide. The American Association of Suicidology has come up with an pneumonic devise to help people remember the signs. They call it IS PATH WARM:
S Substance Abuse
M Mood Changes
The most helpful thing you can do is to reach out and talk with someone who you think might be experiencing these thoughts or feelings. Invite them to talk about them and help them seek professional help. It is especially worrisome if someone has threatened to hurt or kill themselves and if they have explored a means to do that. It is likely to be very dangerous if they actually have the means to do it, for example if they have purchased a gun, collected pills, or found a rope.
Substance abuse adds another layer of risk because the clouded judgement and poor impulse control that occurs when under the influence of drugs or alcohol could lead to a sudden decision to act.
It can be overwhelming if you have a friend or family member who is showing these signs. Make sure you get the help and support you need by calling a mental health professional who is knowledgable about suicide prevention.