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MMC raising suicide prevention awareness

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It’s one of the hardest topics to discuss, but one of imperative importance.

September is Suicide Awareness Month nationwide, and Minden Medical Center is doing their part to help shed light on the dangers and erase the stigma of mental illness. It starts with talking about the signs and who is at risk.

Suicide claims the lives of 41,000 people every year, and according to the National Association of Mental Illness, the most recognizable signs of suicide are:

Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation; these can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like, “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous.

Increased alcohol and drug use

Aggressive behavior

Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community

Dramatic mood swings

Talking, writing or thinking about death

Impulsive or reckless behavior

“We know that roughly 90 percent of individuals who die from suicide have suffered or suffer from some form of mental illness,” said Dr. Janice Hollier, psychiatrist at Minden Medical Center Behavioral Health. “Because of this, we can be proactive and save lives by identifying friends or family members who may be at risk.”

While risk factors vary, there are some common traits among individuals who fall victim to suicide. They include:

n A family history of suicide

Substance abuse; drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts

Intoxication; more than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence

Access to firearms

A serious or chronic medical illness

Gender; although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide

A history of trauma or abuse

Prolonged stress

Isolation

Age; people under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide

A recent tragedy or loss

Agitation and sleep deprivation

“Our hope is that anyone struggling with depression or any other form of mental illness knows that it’s okay to seek help,” Dr. Hollier said. “We’re here whenever they need us.”

Dr. Hollier is a psychiatrist at Minden Medical Center Behavioral Health Unit. Minden Medical Center Behavioral Health provides inpatient treatment for adults age 55 and over who may be struggling with suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

In addition to Dr. Hollier, a team of highly trained nurses, therapists, and clinical support staff to ensure a comprehensive behavioral health treatment program supports the unit.

To learn more about the services provided, visit www.mindenmedicalcenter.com/behavioralhealth or call our 24-hour referral line at 318-371-5646.

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