SEATTLE — Someone loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Rick Raymond is the reason why Kitsap County gathered on Tuesday to mark World Suicide Prevention Day in Port Orchard.
"I was in the Navy for 12 years and I don't want to see any more of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms lose their life to suicide," Raymond said.
He got to know county officials over the last year, because his home was destroyed in the rare December 2018 Port Orchard tornado. The connections he made helped him organize this event.
World Suicide Prevention Day, created in 2003, is meant to raise awareness about an issue that doesn't discriminate. The day was created to help survivors, family members left behind and educate the general public on taking action to help prevent suicides.
While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis. Further risk factors include an experience of loss, loneliness, discrimination, a relationship break-up, financial problems, chronic pain and illness and abuse. The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt, according to the WHO.
Every instance is different, but sometimes those with suicidal thoughts may outwardly express indicators of those ideations.
Some of the warning signs include:
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Expressing thoughts of hopelessness or having no purpose
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Giving away belongings or tying up loose ends
- Dangerous or harmful behavior to others or themselves
- Extreme mood swings
- Sudden calm behavior after a period of depression
In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, recognize the warning signs for suicide, and intervene.
After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What you can do:
- If someone you know is threatening suicide, take the threat seriously.
- Do not leave the person alone. If possible, ask for help from friends or other family members.
- Ask the person to give you any weapons or items they may have to hurt themselves.
- Try to keep the person as calm as possible.
- Call 911 or take the person to an emergency room.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
You can also chat online with a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.