Saving a loved one from suicide

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "Feeling trapped like there is no way out of the situation they are in," says Jennifer Myers, Coordinator for suicide prevention at The Counseling Center of USC.

Experts say the number of Americans dying from suicide is growing, especially in young adults.

"In the college age group 17-22 years, it's the number two cause of death behind accidents," says Bill Lindsey, Executive Director of NAMI SC.

But Lindsey, says young adults aren't the only ones affected.

"Over 36,700 people completed suicide in 2009, that's over 100 a day," says Lindsey.

However, you can help.

"Knowing the signs and taking them seriously when you see them," says Myers.

"Someone is talking about killing themselves, maybe someone is expressing a desire to die. They're stating there's no reason for living, there's no purpose for their life, they're talking about things being hopeless," says Myers.

But what happens when you don't see any signs?

"That's one of the toughest things about knowing someone that's killed themselves, is you look back and you think maybe I missed this, maybe I missed that," says Myers.

Facebook is also working to prevent suicide by allowing you to report a suicidal status or post.

Lindsey says suicide is an issue that has been placed on the back burner.

"What we are doing now isn't working, we aren't we're not working, we're not talking about it, we're not encouraging people to get help," says Lindsey

Crandall Sims reporting,"The National Alliance of Mental Illness of South Carolina currently has a bill up for debate that may help prevent suicide. It would allow South Carolina patients the chance to sign a release allowing someone they trust to help with their care."

Lindsey says lots of times a loved one will mention things that the patient may not remember or feel comfortable talking about.

"With the proper questions and people paying attention it's one of the most preventable deaths that there is," says Lindsey.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, experts ask that you seek help, you can do so by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800--TALK (8255) or you can call the Columbia are mental health center at 803-898-8888.

Friday, March 2, 2012, The Helping the Hurting: Faith Communities Response to Suicide event will be held at the Midlands Technical College Airport campus. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Academic Center room 143.

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Ann P. said on Monday, Mar 12 at 10:59 PM

I have a son that is mentally ill and I know for a fact the system we have now is not working. My son has been in and out of hospitals almost 20 years now and it took him to almost burn his apartment down and has been in a psych hospital for three months now to get him placed in a home to be supervised with medication. I have tried for years to get him placed and as long as he had somewhere to go the mental health department wouldn't help him. I had to tell them he had no where to go and I wasn't able to take care of him with my health the way it is. He is still awaiting to be transferred to the group home. There is a lot of paper work and red tape that have to be done. Thank God I had a Power of Attorney for my son made when he was in a normal state and on his meds. The POA has really helped me to take the bull by the horns if it wasn't for that my hands would have been tied and nothing would be done. The POA helped legally as well as medically as far as healthcare goes.

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Ameya said on Friday, Mar 2 at 12:19 PM

real treatment is longer term and more intensive than a hospital can provide and a good psychiatrist and therapist the PERSON can trust is a must. I can already bring friends and family to any appointment i want and i can also ask for assistance when needed such as paying bills or making me a meal or two. NO THANK YOU NAMI

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Ameya said on Friday, Mar 2 at 12:18 PM

As a person with a mental illness myself - this bill concerns me. It is already legally possible to put someone else in charge of my care -but that is not going to help them "heal" any more than if the person chooses to ask for that voluntarily. Proper care involves self introspection and the intensive work with a therapist and psychologist. Putting someone else in control is not going to help me heal . having support and help in situations i cannot handle "at the moment" is one thing, but legally being out of my control is a whole other ball of wax and it isnt good. It conveys that we are unworthy, unable to care for ourselves, dependent, and out of control. way to go for increasing stereotypes, NAMI. for those who posted previously - i feel for you and your family members. The psychiatrists and therapists know that not necessarily everyone they "release" from a psychiatric unit is "better" - but truth be told, a psych unit is basically a babysitter combined with a holding cell. .

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Helen C said on Friday, Mar 2 at 11:49 AM

I agree that too often the hospital releases our loved ones way too early. I have to say that NAMI has been a life saver when my mother was recieving treatment. The support groups for the families and those living with mental illness have really helped.

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A worried mome said on Friday, Mar 2 at 11:05 AM

The problem is that once you do take a loved one to the hospital, no treatment is provided. Most hospitals keep the patient for a day, then ask them if they still want to hurt themselves, and the patient says whatever they need to say to get out. The insurance company reads the file, believes the person is suddenly healed after a day in the hospital and they demand immediate (and I mean immediate) discharge from the hospital regardless of what the doctors and parents are saying about the situation. Then, they refer you to a therapist who you see once a week for 45 minutes (because the insurance co will not pay for longer or more frequent therapy) and meds that won't kick in til a month later IF you happen to get the right dosage and combo on the first try. The current system is not okay and getting help fast really means nothing when the help only lasts a day.

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Kim G. said on Friday, Mar 2 at 10:45 AM

I understand you are trying to help people and the fact is I have a son that has tried 3 times. But It isn't cut and dry thing. You can always look back see something after the fact. You can't for see the future.

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