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Suicide Prevention

Kate Pittignano

Although suicide can have several causes, struggling with depression is often one.

Depression is a serious mental illness characterized by depressed moods and/or loss of interest in daily activities that can turn deadly without treatment. Fortunately, there are many ways to get help for yourself or a loved one before it is too late.

First and foremost, in a time of crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached by calling 800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting “hello” to 741741. These services are free, confidential, and ready to help 24/7.

Additionally, there are measures to help reduce the risk of suicide in advance. For example, a safety plan can reduce the frequency of suicidal thoughts and actions. This would involve limiting access to deadly means and developing coping strategies with the help of a medical professional. Follow up calls from supportive family and friends have also been shown to help greatly.

If you are worried that a loved one may be considering suicide, do not be afraid to speak up. Start a conversation with them about your concerns. Be open and caring, but do not try to solve their problems, blame yourself, act shocked, or promise confidentiality. Depending on how the conversation goes, you may have to alert a professional to truly help your loved one. (

As a society, suicide prevention can be taken up by providing equal access to healthcare, especially mental healthcare. In order to truly help individuals struggling with suicidal ideation on a basic level, medical help is often needed. However, mental health is often put on the backburner as daily life continues, more so in situations where healthcare is unaffordable or inaccessible. Although this may seem political, medical treatment is a human right and should not be denied to anyone simply due to their financial status or, for that matter, any reason at all. (

If you feel that you may be struggling with a mental illness or have thoughts of suicide, do not be afraid to reach out. No one should have to feel depressed on a daily basis. Those who love you will want you to get the support you need to live your happiest and healthiest life. No matter who you are, you are loved. You have the power to change a life. Why not start with changing yours?


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