Help those struggling by watching for warning signs

Healthy Living

Help those struggling by watching for warning signs

As we rapidly approach the end of another year, there are a lot of things to look forward to: cooler weather, time with family and the holidays among them.

But these can also cause feelings of stress and worry for many of America’s workers dealing with winter weather, traveling and post-holiday bills. For some, the end of the year can bring about substance abuse and severe depression.

This week, the American Association of Suicidology recognizes National Suicide Prevention Week to encourage those in need getting the help they need.

According to the AAS, you should be concerned if you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of the following warning signs:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes

“We place a lot of emphasis on our physical health — which is good — but our mental health is equally important,” said Takeela Belk, RN, at Colonial Life. “Our thoughts and what we think is ultimately the driving force of what we do. Being aware of our mental health and engaging in exercises that stimulate our brain is key to overall good health.”

For many employees at companies that have Employee Assistance Programs, that help is just a phone call or click away. Many companies offer access to consultants by telephone, online tools and resources and even free visits with counselors.

For many, getting the right help at the right time can be a matter of life and death.

According to the AAS, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, representing more than 42,000 fatalities annually.

Males are three times as likely as females to take their own lives, and suicides represent 3 percent of all deaths in middle-aged adults, between 45 and 64.

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