National Suicide Prevention Awareness month is wrapping up, but health officials want the awareness to last all year long.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is promoting resources it has aimed at stopping suicide.
One program is called Question, Persuade, Refer and focuses on recognizing a suicide crisis and knowing how and where to find help. More than 2,800 Nebraskans have been trained over the past two years.
Renee Faber, DHHS Behavioral Health Service manager, says a current grant program focuses that on 10-to-24 year olds who are at higher risk.
“Starting in the schools but also businesses, any organization, law enforcement, really anyone who interacts with youth and their families, so they can learn warning signs about suicide and be more confident in helping someone who’s struggling or in crisis,” Faber tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Research shows most people who attempt suicide have or had a mental illness.
Faber says Nebraskans are doing a good job talking openly about such problems, which helps reduce suicides.
“Really getting the message out that suicide prevention is everyone’s role,” she says, “and making it part of everyday conversation and working to really reduce that stigma.”
Data shows 221 Nebraskans died by suicide in 2015.
“There’s a variety of general warning signs where you should be concerned about your friend and loved one, and help get them to a mental health professional, help make a referral,” Faber says, “or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for them or with them, so that they can get more information and be able to express what’s going on and get help.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).