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Pandemic highlights importance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September Marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September Marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A recent Harris Poll reports 61 percent of teens say the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feelings of loneliness.

And six out of ten say their sources of support are harder to reach right now.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, a perfect time to be reminded of these alarming statistics.

“Prevention” is a key word.

We spoke with experts at Acadia Hospital in Bangor who say it’s important to know the warning signs.

Things like dramatic mood swings, commenting on suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from friends or family among others.

Once we identify concerning behavior, we have to be intentional and reach out.

“We’ve got to be deliberate. We’ve got to reach out. We’ve got to phone a friend. Pick up the phone and call. It never hurts to ask those questions of, ‘Are you thinking of ending your life? Are you thinking of suicide?’ Being able to name it doesn’t put the idea in somebody’s head. That’s really a myth that we’ve got to get beyond,” says Chris McLaughlin of Acadia Hospital.

McLaughlin says providing non-verbal check-in options are also important, like texting, emailing, post it notes and a color-coded system.

It’s not always easy to put into words how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking.

He also stresses to make a plan for reaching out for help before things hit a critical point.

This can be done by keeping hotline and warm-line numbers at your fingertips.

RESOURCES

The Maine mental health crisis number (all ages, anywhere in Maine) is: 1-888-568-1112

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://www.nami.org/home

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