Mental Health professionals say suicide awareness and prevention should last more than a month

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Mental Health professionals say awareness and prevention should last longer than a month.

According to Sharon Pendlebury, CEO of South Texas Health System Behavioral Facility, in 2020 about 11,000 Texans between the ages of 13 and 35 died by suicide. Making it the second leading cause of death among young people in Texas.

Pendlebury added that friends and family need to be aware of suicidal warning signs such as withdrawal, isolation, and lack of energy. The withdrawal stage is the most common one that friends and family notice where that person has zero energy and a lack of motivation.

Sadness occurs in about 50% of adult cases and children typically exert anger.

Pendlebury said once any of the signs are noticed, it is best to let that person know you are there for them from a distance and meet them on their own terms.

“People who are depressed or significantly anxious don’t like to be bothered too much,” said Pendlebury. “It feels overwhelming and much more demanding than you might anticipate, so just being there without poking or prodding too much.”

The good news about depression and anxiety is, it is treatable, according to Pendlebury.

The South Texas Health System offers outpatient therapeutic support as well as primary care physicians that support patients.

If you’re an enrolled student at UTRGV, the Vaqueros crisis line is a 24/7 confidential helpline for those experiencing an emotional crisis which may include suicidal thinking, thoughts of self-harm, or other confusion and panic. A trained counselor will be able to assist students at (956) 665-5555.

The Tropical Texas Crisis Lifeline is available to everyone in the state at (877) 289-7199. Social workers will attend to the caller’s location when in a crisis of suicide or emergency mental health situations. It will also connect a caller to proper community agencies that will help with needs to improve living conditions and lifestyles.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also a confidential call line available 24/7 with trained professionals ready to talk through feelings of distress. The number is 1-800-273-8255.

Private therapy and counseling is another option offered in the Rio Grande Valley and across the state.

If someone explicitly says they are going to commit self-harm or suicide, call 911 immediately.

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