Norton Healthcare talks about National Suicide Awareness Week

Norton Healthcare talks about National Suicide Awareness Week
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 11:23 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s a heavy, but serious topic: suicide.

This week marks National Suicide Awareness Week, which opens the discussion of the dark topic in hopes of saving lives.

Suicide is a top-10 leading cause of death in the U.S. for people ages five to 64. Researchers say about 16% of the U.S. population will contemplate suicide at some point in their lives.

The Director of Psychological Services for Norton Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Mark Schirmer said it usually starts with emotional discomfort. He said some red flags to look out for include recent psychological turmoil, changes in behavior like eating or sleeping habits, irritability, and trouble concentrating.

He said if you or someone you love is showing signs of depression, it starts with a gentle conversation.

“There’s not like a specific script to follow,” Schirmer said. “I think if you follow a script, that can sound a little phony. And so, part of what’s really important when you’re talking to someone about possibly having suicidal thoughts or suicidal impulses is making more of a personal connection with them. So really, be yourself, be kind, be loving and approach with the sensitivity and compassion that you would want someone to approach you.”

The number for the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline is 988. It’s a 24/7 hotline that can connect people with real-time assistance.