Celebrity deaths high­light need for sui­cide pre­ven­tion and aware­ness

Starkville Daily News - - FAITH -

This week, two prom­i­nent fig­ures of Amer­i­can cul­ture, fash­ion de­signer Kate Spade and celebrity chef An­thony Bourdain, ended their own lives. Their deaths sparked na­tional at­ten­tion to sui­cide rates across the U.S.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC), sui­cide rates are on the rise across the U.S. Half the coun­try ex­pe­ri­enced sui­cide rate in­creases of more than 30 per­cent from 1999 to 2016.

How­ever, per­haps more sig­nif­i­cant than the loss of cultural icons is the loss of the loved ones in daily life. Ac­cord­ing to the CDC, just in Mis­sis­sippi, the sui­cide rate

from 1999 to 2016. Be­fore more tragedies oc­cur, many are ask­ing how sui­cides may be pre­vented.

Aware­ness is an im­por­tant step to­ward the pre­ven­tion of sui­cide, ac­cord­ing to men­tal health ex­perts.

“No one is ex­empt,” said Stephanie Tay­lor, Lown­des County Ad­min­is­tra­tor of Com­mu­nity Coun­sel­ing Ser­vices (CCS).

“Men­tal health is­sues are ev­ery­where,” Tay­lor ex­plains, and men­tal health is­sues do not dis­crim­i­nate based on age, wealth, or in­tel­li­gence.

In that re­gard, sui­cide is more com­mon than most peo­ple re­al­ize, and Tay­lor em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of re­al­iz­ing sui­cide's preva­lence.

“We can't just ig­nore it or pre­tend it's go­ing away,” she said.

From Tay­lor's ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­count­ing for men­tal health is­sues early on can im­prove some­one's out­come. The longer the is­sues per­sist, the worse the symp­toms and the out­come can be for that per­son.

Tay­lor ex­plains that notic­ing changes in the daily be­hav­ior of loved ones can help with early pre­ven­tion of sui­cide. Changes in sleep­ing, eat­ing, and so­cial habits, ac­com­pa­nied by giv­ing prized posses­sions or pets away are some po­ten­tial signs of sui­ci­dal be­hav­ior. An­other warn­ing sign may be a no­tice­able in­crease in al­co­hol con­sump­tion or med­i­ca­tion in­take. In teenagers and pre­teens, warn­ing signs can in­clude new­found anger or an ir­ri­ta­ble at­ti­tude.

When these changes and symp­toms oc­cur, ex­perts say it is im­por­tant to be proac­tive about ap­proach­ing the per­son about their symp­toms.

How­ever, Tay­lor says to­day's so­ci­ety has a fear about ad­dress­ing some­one with sui­ci­dal be­hav­ior.

There are dif­fer­ent rea­sons one chooses not to talk to a loved one about their symp­toms, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts. Some­times there is a fear of mak­ing mat­ters worse. But most peo­ple who pre­vi­ously at­tempted sui­cide later say they wish any­one would have ap­proached them and asked them what was wrong.

If no one is ex­empt from sui­cide, per­sonal care is also an im­por­tant part of pre­ven­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Men-

per­cent of doc­tor's vis­its are sim­ply due to stress-re­lated symp­toms. Tay­lor ex­plains that unat­tended stress and a lack of per­sonal care can man­i­fest into phys­i­cal symp­toms.

Although peo­ple want to fix their symp­toms with medicine, medicine may not al­ways be the an­swer.

Ac­cord­ing to Tay­lor, learn­ing healthy cop­ing mech­a­nisms such as ad­e­quate sleep, healthy eat­ing, ex­er­cise, and tak­ing time to re­lax, some­times im­proves symp­toms more than medicine would. How­ever, when the proper steps are not taken, sui­cide may be one choice con­sid­ered for cop­ing with and end­ing the suf­fer­ing.

For those in The Golden Train­gle who wish to seek help for them­selves or a loved one, Tay­lor en­cour­ages any­one to call their lo­cal of­fices, which can be found at cc­sms.org.

For any­one who seeks ser­vices at CCS, Tay­lor en­sures, “You will not be judged. We are here to help you.”

If some­one is in need of ur­gent care, CDC has a 24/7 Mo­bile Cri­sis and Emer­gency Re­sponse Team (M-CERT), in which some­one is on call to pro­vide help­ful in­for­ma­tion or, in more ex­treme cir­cum­stances, send an emer­gency re­sponse team to the caller. M-CERT is a free ser­vice, and their team can be reached at

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