In case you did not know, September has been designated as National Suicide Prevention month by the National Alliance On Mental Illness. Many of us here at the Center for Life Management in one way or another are involved in and/or impacted by suicide as a consequence of treating a wide range of mental health disorders. Over the course of my own 35 year career in mental health, I too have had personal experience with clients who have committed suicide— both those who I have directly worked with in my years as a social worker, as well as those who were being served by my organizations in my time as a CEO. Unfortunately, I have also had colleagues that have done so as well. Each and every one of these tragedies has had a profound impact on me both personally and professionally, so much so that I too, although familiar and informed about how and why it happens, am at a loss for words in communicating with family members and others about the WHY of suicide.
This brings me to a perplexing and lingering question in our field; is suicide really preventable? Or, put another way, if a person is set on taking their own life; is anyone really capable of convincing or persuading someone to not go ahead with their plan? One way of answering this question is to say that the clinical staff at CLM, through their work and given the complications of many disorders—especially depression— are regularly in communication and providing treatment with people who are prone to suicidal thinking. It is indeed a critical part of our mission and our task to assist people in getting the treatment they need and developing within them the recognition that there are always options and choices other than self-harm. The more people are experienced in recognizing the warning signs, the more realistic it is it to prevent suicide from happening. In fact, not only professionals, but all of us can play a part in better knowing who is at risk for suicide. For more on how you can learn the signs to help prevent suicide, you can go to www.suicidology.org and/or www.zerosuicide.com.