Get Healthy Carson City: Suicide has touched many lives

Most of us know someone who has committed suicide. Suicide doesn’t discriminate. It affects all individuals — males and females, young and old, rich and poor, and all nationalities. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016, almost 45,000 individuals died from suicide. Nevada has the fifth highest rate of suicide in the United States. In Nevada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those ages 18-44. It’s the first cause of death for youth ages 8-17. Nevada’s elderly, those 65 or older, have the highest rate of suicide compared to all other age groups.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Everyone can help with trying to prevent suicide. You can help by educating yourself on the warning signs of suicide, learn what you can do if you feel someone is at risk, and learn what resources and educational opportunities are available in your community.

About 75 percent of individuals who are thinking about suicide show warning signs. Some warning signs are:

Seems to be depressed or sad most of the time;

Appears to feel hopeless or helpless;

Feels trapped with no way out of a situation;

Talking or writing about death or suicide;

Withdrawing from family and friends;

Dramatic mood changes;

Abuses drugs or alcohol;

Has a personality change;

Acts impulsively or recklessly;

Has lost interest in most activities;

Sleeping or eating habits change;

Performing poorly in school or work;

Feels excessive guilt or shame;

Giving away prize possessions; or

Some give no warning signs.

It’s important to take all warning signs seriously!

Anyone can help someone who’s considering suicide. If a person shows some of the above warning sign, ways to help are:

Ask if the person is feeling suicidal, is depressed, or has problems;

Stay with them;

Listen to what the person is saying;

Give them the suicide prevention hotline telephone number and make sure they call;

Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Trained counselors are available all the time;

Call 911.

Another way to get involved in suicide prevention is to learn as much as you can about suicide and the best way to talk to those at risk. There’s a lot of information on the internet. Just make sure you’re getting your information from reputable websites — some are listed below. You can even take an in-person class that will teach you about the warning signs of suicide and how to talk with someone who may be thinking about suicide. Organizations that are a good resource or provide education include:

State of Nevada, Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Office of Suicide Prevention (

Coalition for Suicide Prevention (

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (

NAMI Western Nevada (

Attend a safeTALK Suicide Awareness Training — contact Office of Suicide Prevention or Coalition for Suicide Prevention for trainings scheduled. This class will teach you how to talk with someone who may be thinking about suicide.

Take an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) — contact Office of Suicide Prevention or Coalition for Suicide Prevention for training schedule.

Attend NAMI education classes (

For those of you who want to get more involved with suicide prevention activities, the following is a list of classes and events within the Western Northern Nevada area:

The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention — A community suicide prevention awareness walk, 12th Annual “Walk in Memory – Walk for Hope” taking place on Sept. 15 at Bob McFadden Plaza, 223 W. Third St. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Walk participants are asked to donate $20. The walk is also taking place in other communities across the state.

Youth Mental Health First Aid — Sept. 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; State of Nevada Division of Aging Services, downstairs conference room, 9670 Gateway Drive, Reno. Class is free.

safeTALK, Training — Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-noon, Western Nevada College; or on Sept. 25, 1-4 p.m. at Truckee Meadows Community College/Meadowood Campus. Please call Kim Desroches at 775-445-4401 for information. Class fee is $15.

Visit for more scheduled events and classes.

4th Annual NAMI Western Nevada Unmasked Gala — Oct. 4, 5 p.m. – Reception & Silent Auction and 6 p.m. — Dinner; CVIC Hall, Minden. Tickets are $75.

Carson City Health and Human Services urges you to do your part during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month by learning the warning signs and how to be comfortable with talking about suicide.


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