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Awareness of Suicide Risk Important for All

October 25, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
AMES, Iowa — Suicide has been prominently in the news with the recent deaths of well-known celebrities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States. The effects of suicide are often felt beyond the person who acted to take his or her life. It can have a lasting impact on family, friends, schools, churches, work sites and communities, says Malisa Rader, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. In Iowa, the suicide rate has increased over 36 percent since 1999 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Iowa is also well known for a high risk industry – farming, Rader said. “According to a 2012 CDC study, those working in the farming, fishing and forestry industries had the highest rate of suicide overall (84.5 per 100,000 population). This suicide rate was even higher than for military veterans. Farmers even have the highest mortality rate from stress related illnesses. How to help others “If you think a loved one or friend may be at risk for suicide, there are some steps you can take to try to help this person,” said David Brown, a Human Sciences specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach and Licensed Marital and Family Therapist.    “First, listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. If you are concerned, ask, ‘Are you thinking of killing yourself?’ If the person says yes or doesn’t give a direct answer, take the next steps. Ask what the person plans to do. Then try to reduce the person’s access to highly lethal items, such as guns or pills,” Brown said. “The last and most important step is to get the person help,” Brown said.“Do not leave the person alone. If you cannot take the person to a hospital emergency room, have someone call 911. Iowans can call the ISU Extension and Outreach Iowa Concern Hotline, 800-447-1985, for help and referrals for dealing with stress. The Iowa Concern website at www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ has a live chat feature as an additional way to talk with stress counselors. Agencies and professionals serving individuals and families can contact local ISU Extension and Outreach county offices about Iowa Concern hotline number business cards available for distribution. Call ISU Extension and Outreach, Tama County for more information 641.484.2703.

 
 

 

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