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November 16, 2018

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How to navigate suicide prevention resources in Las Vegas

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Call any time

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) operates 24/7. The service is available to everyone, and all calls are confidential. 1–800–273–TALK (8255). Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact via TTY at 1–800–799–4889.

Anthony Bourdain shared the world’s cuisine and culture with millions of Americans. Kate Spade designed bags that carry the essentials of entire generations of women.

Both Bourdain and Spade died by suicide in June and left behind friends, family and mourning fans. But they weren’t the only ones. On average, 123 people die by suicide each day in the U.S., and many display warning signs.

“It’s important to know that if you’re feeling suicidal, you’re not alone,” says Jennifer Riedel, MSW, LSW and behavioral health program director at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

How is Las Vegas doing?

Suicide is the seventh-leading cause of death in Nevada, and the state ranks seventh in the nation for highest suicide death rate at 21.4 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent numbers. Nationally, the suicide rate has increased in almost every state by 30 percent, but in Nevada, the rate actually decreased by a percentage point.

Dr. Jacob Manjooran, a psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director at Southern Hills, says the state, city municipalities and local health care agencies have worked hard to tackle that issue.

“When I came to Vegas, we were No. 2 in suicide rates,” he says. “We’re actually improving.”

All the key stakeholders have worked to fill in the gaps for mental health services in Las Vegas, Manjooran says. But he notes that the city and state still have room for growth.

To address this need, Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center plans to open an 80-bed inpatient psychiatric facility in 2019. Construction is underway. The new facility will serve populations ages of 13 and up.

How to support someone who is struggling

Manjooran and Riedel gave the following tips to those looking to be supportive for people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

1. Directly ask the individual if he or she is suicidal. While many people think asking such a direct question may increase the chances of suicide, the opposite is true.

2. Talk frequently and openly about suicide to reduce the stigma surrounding it. “We talk about it in the media when two famous people kill themselves. ... This is something we should be talking about all the time,” Riedel said.

3. Secure his or her weapons if you know a loved one is having suicidal thoughts.

4. Remind individuals of the important ties in their lives, whether that’s their family, friends, community or religion. Help them connect to a community and follow up with them.

5. If you can’t get the person you’re concerned about to a facility, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with them.

Who’s at risk

Did you know?

More than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition, according to the CDC.

Men are more likely to die from suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men typically use more lethal methods, such as firearms, whereas women use methods like poisoning.

Native American youth and middle aged individuals, and white middle-aged individuals, have the highest rates of suicide, according to the CDC. Hispanics and African-Americans have the lowest suicide rates.

Warning signs and factors that increase the likelihood of suicide

Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor and is often a combination of factors. Some are listed below. It’s important to remember that even if a few of the factors or warning signs are present, it does not mean suicide is inevitable. Both Manjooran and Riedel note that suicide is always preventable.

Did you know?

Almost 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016.

1. Substance or alcohol abuse

2. Previous attempts at suicide/family history of suicide

3. Childhood trauma/family violence, including physical and/or sexual abuse

4. Individual saying/believing that he or she is a burden to others

5. Withdrawing from family and friends

6. Family history of depression or other mental health disorders/substance abuse

7. Giving away beloved possessions

8. Saying goodbye to friends and family, putting affairs in order or making a will

9. Having guns or other firearms in the home

10. Being in prison or jail

11. Exposure to someone else’s suicidal behavior, whether that’s a family member, peer or media figure

12. Medical illness

13. Being between the ages of 15-24 years or 60-plus years.

Resources in Las Vegas for those struggling

To locate treatment services or general information, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Hotline at 1–800–662–HELP (4357), or visit its behavioral health treatment locator.

Local survivor support groups

Survivors of Suicide Loss

• Where: Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center, 2651 Paseo Verde, Suite 180, Henderson

• When: First and third Tuesday of the month, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

• Facilitator: Linda Flatt

• Phone: 702-616-4900 or

• Linda at 702-807-8133

• Email: [email protected]

Survivors of Suicide

• Where: Canyon Ridge Christian Church, 6200 W. Lone Mountain Road, Las Vegas

• When: Every Monday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

• Facilitator: Steve or Nancy Yoshidsy

• Phone: 702-658-2722 or 702-708-1696

*Note, this is a faith-based service.

For services in other counties, visit the Nevada Suicide Prevention Coalition’s website at nvsuicideprevention.org

To find out more ways to help, visit BeThe1To.com.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.