The week of September 5th through 11th is National Suicide Awareness Week, Saturday September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, and September is Suicide Awareness Month. Dr. Chuck Weber is a board certified psychiatrist with The Family Care Center in Colorado Springs, and he says one of the biggest hurdles in raising awareness about suicide is overcoming the stigma it carries on so many levels.
"What we have found over the years is talking about it does not raise suicide attempts, and does not raise completed suicides. Talking about it actually reduces [suicides] because it breaks that first barrier of stigma, and it fosters an environment where you can start getting help," Dr. Weber said.
Dr. Weber told News 5 about some possible warning signs to be aware of in friends, family members, or loved ones that could indicate suicide risk.
"Deviation in emotion, anger, aggression, or isolation the lack of attachment or withdrawal, from the world, society, relationships, work. If someone starts giving away personal items, if you see an uptick in mood, or saying goodbyes, or talking in terms of things being final, these are all very pertinent signs to say something is going on," Dr. Weber said. "It’s a good time to ask if someone needs help.”
Dr. Weber stresses that there are many resources available in the community, but the most important factor in preventing suicide is making sure that those initial conversations occur that can reduce or remove the personal stigma of simply asking for help. Preventing a suicide may be recognizing the signs in a friend or family member, and engaging in this serious topic.