According to the Wyoming Department of Health news release, suicide among 10- to 24-year-olds still remains the number two cause of death.
Although Wyoming’s overall suicide rate has dropped enormously, the Wyoming Department of Health states that much work needs to be done regarding increasing the awareness in the public when it comes to suicide. Suicide is the number two cause of death in youth between the ages of 10-24, the age group accounts to 20-25 percent of Wyoming suicides.
The Wyoming Department of Health suicide prevention team leader, Keith Hotle has said that some of the reasons that youth commit suicide in Wyoming is because of rural isolation, lack of adequate mental health resources, easy access to firearms, and the stigma commonly associated with suicide and mental illness. Some of the warning signs that Hotle says can include are talking about suicide and constant talking with death and dying, drastic mood and many behavior changes, not sleeping or not eating, keeping fair distance from family and friends, losing interest in school or social activities, not taking care of ones self, and an increase use of drugs or alcohol.
Hotle also suggests that there may be ways to help a person who is contemplating suicide. The first and most important suggestion is to always take any suicide threat seriously. Do not just think it is an idol threat. Be aware of all warning signs, anything that does not seem to be of the norm, investigate thoroughly. Do not keep any secrets from someone who is suicidal. Always be calm in talking with them, and never be judgmental on the situation. Speak about suicide with compassion. Always encourage the person to share their feeling regardless of what they are. Try not to leave the person alone, if needed call 911 for assistance. Tell the person that you are willing to go with them to a mental health provider. If the person has guns or knives in their possession, try and advise them to give them to you or someone else. If you are not a family member, contact a family member or a close friend of the person’s and explain the situation. Try and follow up with that person once the problem has been recognized.
Rodger McDamiel, the Deputy Director of the Wyoming Department of Health states that “Scientific research indicates most cases of suicide are preventable, and we’re working to make an impact.” He also noted that his division has part in the Wyoming Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, which is a three year, $1.2 million effort that has been funded by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With this funding, youth based suicide programs have been started, suicide prevention groups, and marketing a statewide campaign is on it’s way.
The sad truth is that most suicides can be prevented if the signs are seen early enough. If you notice and of the signs above in anyone that you know, take the time and the effort to check it out. Family and friends of those who take their lives are impacted enormously with guilt and the “should have” thoughts. To learn more about suicide prevention and activities in the Wyoming area, please visit the Wyoming Department of Health website or call 307-777-3318 to find a local suicide prevention coalition in your area.
SOURCE: Suicide Remains a Disturbing Problem in Wyoming