A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 4: Stress Management and Sleep 84 What to Do if Someone is Suicidal If you are severely depressed, or know someone who is, getting expert help from a mental health professional is essential. Fortunately, treatment for depression can be highly effective (Fahey et al., 2011). However, if chronic depression is left unchecked, it can lead to thoughts or attempts of suicide. Provided below are the recommended steps to take if someone you know is contemplating suicide: • Take suicidal talk seriously • Show genuine concern • Urge the individual to seek professional help If you are suicidal, or know someone who is, it is important to know you are not alone and that help is available. If the threat of suicide is immediate, seek help immediately (e.g., call 911 or campus safety at (937) 766-7992 or 999 from a campus phone). Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24/7 at (800) 273-8255 and provides free and confidential talk with trained counselors. Additional resources are available on their website (suicidepreventionlifeline.org). Some of the warning signs of suicide include: • Taking about killing or harming one’s self • Expressing strong feeling of hopelessness or being trapped • An unusual preoccupation with death or dying • Acting recklessly (as if they have a death wish) • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye • Getting personal affairs in order • Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out” • A sudden change from being extremely depressed to acting calm and/or happy Dealing with issues like anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts requires a team approach to include family members and qualified mental health professionals. Examples of qualified mental health professionals include certified or licensed counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. In addition to seeking help, a thorough physical exam may be necessary to determine if an undiagnosed physical illness is contributing to these issues.