Maryland has resources for those at risk of suicide
The Aug. 11 suicide of comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams stunned individuals around the world. Both celebrity costars and everyday fans alike have shared feelings of disbelief, grief and wishes that he had gotten help to prevent such a tragic loss. The Hollywood reporter quoted Williams’s publicist as saying the star recently had been battling “severe depression.”
And while millions of Americans are directly affected by the more than 37,000 suicides and hundreds of thousands of suicide attempts made every year by friends or loved ones, there is hope: Suicide is preventable. And there are places to turn for help.
There are resources to help Marylanders grappling with suicidal thoughts, behaviors or impulses. The Maryland Crisis Hotline is 1-800-422-0009. This is a statewide, 24-hour crisis intervention and supportive counseling hotline for suicide, family and relationship problems, shelter needs, violent or threatening domestic situations, loneliness, depression, chemical dependency issues and others crises. Likewise, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are connected to 24-hour crisis support counseling from a local center.
The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about wanting to die or end their lives.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated or behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or becoming isolated.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling The Maryland Crisis Hotline at 1-800-422-0009.
Risk factors for suicide
(From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center)
- Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders.
- Alcohol and other substance-use disorders.
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies.
- History of trauma or abuse.
- Major physical illnesses.
- Previous suicide attempts.
- Family history of suicide.
- Job or financial loss.
- Loss of a relationship.
- Easy access to lethal means.
- Local clusters of suicide.
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation.
- Stigma associated with asking for help.
- Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment.
- Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma.
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet).
Again, the Maryland Crisis Hotline is 1-800-422-0009. For more information, visit http://www.dhmh.maryland.gov/suicideprevention/sitepages/home.aspx.