Living

AMHC highlights Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. encourages everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts and what to do and not do in response  to helping a loved one.

“According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, one person died by suicide every 32 hours in  the State of Maine in 2020,” explains Sarah Wright, director of crisis services. “Suicide is the second leading cause of  death for ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-54.”  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the following warning signs could signal that someone is  experiencing suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide): 

  • Comments like “I wish I weren’t here” or “Nothing matters” 
  • Increased alcohol and drug use 
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and community 
  • Dramatic mood swings 
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior 

NAMI offers this advice: If your friend or family member struggles with suicidal ideation day-to-day, let them know that  they can talk with you about what they are going through. Make sure that you adopt an open and compassionate  mindset when they are talking. Instead of “arguing” or trying to disprove any negative statements they make (“Your life  is not that bad!”), try active listening techniques such as reflecting on their feelings and summarizing their thoughts. This can help your loved one feel heard and validated. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, AMHC is available to anyone in Aroostook, Washington, and  Hancock counties. To access AMHC’s Mobile Crisis Services team, please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112. 

Celebrating more than 58 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting up to 5,500 clients annually. The agency has 26 service sites and 325 employees across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties providing mental health,  substance use, crisis, sexual assault services, and traumatic brain injury (Aroostook). For more information, connect with  AMHC at www.amhc.org.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.