OLYMPIA -- Suicide rates in Washington have continued to rise and health officials at the Department of Health want people to take five actions urged in the national “#Bethe1to” suicide prevention campaign.
“We want people to know there are steps they can take that can help prevent suicide,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Learning these may be vitally important to those you love and care about.”
In 2017, 1,300 Washingtonians died by suicide, and from 2006 to 2017 suicide in Washington state increased by an average of 2.5 percent annually.
The national #Bethe1to campaign, highlights five actions people can take to help prevent suicide.
1. Be the one to ask.
Ask the tough question. When somebody you know shows warning signs, ask them directly: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Take an online screening.
2. Be the one to keep them safe.
Do they have access to medications, firearms, or other means of suicide? Ask if they’ve thought about how they would do it and separate them from anything they could use to hurt themselves. Learn more from WA’s Safer Homes Coalition.
3. Be the one to be there.
People thinking about suicide can feel a burden to their loved ones.
If your friend is thinking about suicide, listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain. Listen with compassion and empathy without judgement. Now Matters Now has videos from people who have experienced suicidal thoughts share what individuals can do to help manage those thoughts.
4. Be the one to help them connect.
Help your friend connect to a support system, whether it’s 800-273-TALK (8255), the crisis text line (text “HEAL” to 741741) family, friends, faith-based leaders, coaches, co-workers, health care professionals or therapists, so they have a network to reach out to for help. 2-1-1’s online database is another way to find local resources.
5. Be the one to follow up.
Check in with the person you care about on a regular basis.
Making contact with a friend in the days and weeks after a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive. Send a caring contact. This could be a phone call, text, email, or letter.
If you want to connect with someone anonymously, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, chat, or text “HEAL” to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor.
More information on suicide prevention in Washington and the state’s Suicide Prevention Plan is online.
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