COlUMBIA- The Columbia Suicide Prevention Coalition met Monday night to discuss plans for the future of the new group. This prevention group has only had a couple of meetings but in light of Friday's suicide at the downtown parking garage, group members say it is important to raise awareness and discuss the issue.
Prevention Specialist Karen Farris said,"It's something that cuts across all boundries, anyone can suffer from depression or a mental illness and that is just like diabetes and heart disease. We need to pay attention to it and not have such a stigma against talking about it."
This prevention group, along with The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, recognizes many warning signs.
Farris said, "We know that about 80% of people who are contemplating suicide usually will communicate that. Maybe not verbally, but there are some types of warning signs." These warning signs include:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking accress to firearms, available pills or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
- Feeling trapped - like there is no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
Farris said the recent incident at the parking garage might get people to talk about suicide and learn to know it is okay to question somebody about it and to try to get help if it's needed.