Suicide prevention help
• The Samaritans of Rhode Island: (401) 272-4044 or (800) 365-4044; website, www.samaritansri.org
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK, or (800) 273-8255
• The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 “from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.”
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S., with nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older losing their lives that way in 2016, the last year for which full data is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate per 100,000 population increased 30 percent from 2000 to 2016, from 10.4 percent to 13.5 percent. Many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental-health conditions, according to the CDC, including “relationship problem (42 percent),” “crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks (29 percent),” “problematic substance use (28 percent),” “physical health problem (22 percent)” and “job/financial problem (16 percent).”
“At The Samaritans, it's our hope that people will seek help and access care long before they contemplate being on a bridge,” Denise Panichas, executive director of The Samaritans of Rhode Island, tells The Journal.
“In my more than 17 years at The Samaritans, the biggest challenges I observe pertaining to both addictions and behavioral health continue to be the stigma associated with asking for help and the stigma associated with the success of resources available for treatment.
“People of all ages either do not want to be labeled or they believe treatment programs aren’t helpful. Or they have physical health issues that coexist and nothing seems to be improving. Their past experiences often dictate whether they will try again to seek help. We all need to do more to educate the public of the vast array of treatment resources that actually do exist in Rhode Island and, as importantly, that the coordination of treatment with primary care has vastly improved with more knowledge and best practices.
“Because we are volunteer based, Rhode Islanders trust The Samaritans to be that first step — that stigma breaker. We work every day through our listening line, website and public presentations to encourage the first small step to helping yourself and to be there along the journey when family, friends and professionals are not available.”
• More information about suicide is available from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH): health.ri.gov/violence/about/suicide
• RIDOH tracks suicide statistics and rates, with comparisons to U.S. data: www.health.ri.gov/data/suicideandselfharminjury/
• “The Burden of Suicide in Rhode Island,” RIDOH: http://health.ri.gov/publications/factsheets/BurdenOfSuicide.pdf
• “Linking public schools and community mental health services: A model for youth suicide prevention,” RIDOH: http://health.ri.gov/publications/periodicals/healthbynumbers/LinkingPublicSchoolsAndCommunityMentalHealthServices.pdf
• The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has useful information on preventing suicide and getting help: www.cdc.gov/features/preventingsuicide/index.html