• Ronnie Shalev, MD

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide can be prevented

Mental illness touches millions of lives on a daily basis. 20% of adults will experience some form of mental illness, have suicidal thoughts, or at least know someone who has had them. These thoughts can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, money, or fame. No one is immune.

Alarmingly, suicides have increased by 30% since 1999. Every year thousands of people commit suicide leaving their friends and families stunned, feeling shame, and wondering if they could have done something to help. These “suicide loss survivors “ oftentimes feel stigmatized and unable to freely speak about their loss.

We can all prevent suicides. Talking about depression and destigmatizing mental illness helps, as does being able to recognize the warning signs a suicidal person may exhibit.

Warning signs of severe depression:

  • Increased ETOH or drug use

  • Withdrawal from family, friends & community

  • Mood swings

  • Reckless, impulsive behavior

  • Giving away possessions

  • Collecting/saving pills

  • Buying a weapon

  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts

  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.

Like any other health emergency, it’s important to address a mental health crisis like suicide quickly and effectively.

So what should you do if a loved one is suicidal or having a crisis?

  • Talk openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”

  • Remove guns, knives or stockpiled pills from the house

  • Calmly ask simple and direct questions, like “Can I help you find a psychiatrist?”

  • Verbalize support and concern

  • Don’t argue, threaten, or raise your voice

  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong

MediBookr can help you with your mental health issue. We can help connect you with trusted, quality counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists. You can log into the MediBookr application or call our patient advocacy line.

If you are in crisis or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

-Dr. Ronnie Shalev is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and Chief Medical Officer at MediBookr