Suicide continues to be a significant health challenge in Nevada. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nevada ranked the seventh highest for rate of suicide in 2019. Suicide is the number one cause of death among youth ages 11 to 19.
While there is no single cause for suicide, there are risk factors and warning signs which may increase likelihood of an attempt. Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares a number of warning signs:
- Talk: killing themselves, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped, unbearable pain
- Behavior: increased substance use, withdrawal from usual activities, changes in sleep patterns, aggression, fatigue, giving away prized possessions
- Mood: depression, anxiety, loss of interest, irritability, humiliation/shame, agitation/anger, relief/ sudden improvement
A person does not have to be a health care professional to help someone who might be struggling. One of the simplest things we can all do is have open, honest conversations bout mental health and the factors influencing it. We can support one another by staying connected and offering resources.
If you fear you or someone you love may be at risk for suicide, do not want for a crisis to occur. Get professional help right away.
The Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention also shares the following recommendations:
- Know the signs. Don’t wait for a crisis. If people get help and support before an attempt, they rarely make a second attempt.
- Reduce access to lethal means. Acting on thoughts of suicide can be impulsive. Reducing access gives time to get help and save lives. Lock up all medications, firearms, and securely store the ammunition separately.
- Talk openly, teach coping and problem-solving skills. It is paramount to also address feelings of grief, loss, and disruption. We need to nurture a compassionate community which provides a sense of safety, security, and belonging for all; encourage and model open communication; and create opportunities to talk and connect, especially for youth and young adults.
- Know what questions to ask. Using a simple screening tool, (e.g., the —Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale), helps determine a person’s suicide risk level.
- Media reporting. Responsible and safe media reporting on suicide deaths by not sensationalizing or glamorizing suicide will decrease the risk of contagion. Including stories of hope, help, and resilience can improve suicide prevention awareness in a community.
City of Las Vegas Resources
Watch a presentation on suicide awareness.
For more information or training opportunities, please contact Gregory Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-229-6690.