Do you know the five S’s of suicide prevention?
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Do you know the five S’s of suicide prevention?

By Kelsie Tobias, LCSW, Springfield Clinic Family Medicine

Whether you’re worried about a loved one or suffering yourself, it’s important to acknowledge that thoughts of self-harm or suicide are often a symptom of depression. People with depression are often afraid to talk about their feelings with friends, family or even a trusted physician or therapist because they don’t know how their confidants will react or what treatment may be recommended. If you struggle with depression and feel embarrassed, ashamed or judged about it—I promise, you’re not alone.

Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide yourself or looking to share some tips with a friend in need of support? Learn these five S’s to help prevent suicide:

  1. Speak up! Talk with a close friend or family member; you may be surprised by how common your symptoms of depression are. Perhaps a friend or family member has struggled as well and can point you in the right direction. It’s important to talk to your physician or therapist too, as there are various treatment options that are proven to help. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with anyone you know, call 1-800-273-TALK to speak with an anonymous volunteer.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people. Limit time alone if that is triggering to you. Pick up a hobby, start counseling or take more walks.
  3. Get adequate sleep and nourishment. Abstain from drugs and alcohol. Consider your medication options.
  4. Remove stressors. I know this one can be hard. If you are able, reduce hours at work or decline to volunteer next time someone asks you. Limit your evening or weekend plans to mainly tasks/activities you enjoy or have to do. Try to assert yourself with others so that you can increase self-care activities. Think to yourself, “Will this plan sustain me? Or drain me?” It’s okay to say no!
  5. Make a “safety plan” for yourself. Write down your reasons to live, important phone numbers (your supports and emergency resources), triggers and warning signs and coping skills or distractions. Promise yourself to keep you and your loved ones safe. Keep your safety plan easily accessible and visible and share your goals with others.

Read more about Kelsie and counseling services offered at Springfield Clinic, or call 217.528.7541 to make an appointment.