DOVER — For World Suicide Prevention Month, several organizations in the state have raised awareness of numerous resources and programs to help save lives.
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death nationwide, and second-leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Delaware Children’s Department. With the COVID-19 pandemic adding to many stressors, advocates for suicide prevention say no one has to go through their struggles alone.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at (800) 273-TALK (8255). Delaware’s Hope Line is (833) 9-HOPEDE while the statewide number for the Mental Health Association in Delaware is (302) 654-6833.
Delaware also has a 24-hour Child Priority Response Hotline: 1-800-969-HELP (4357) and a Crisis Text Line, which can be reached by texting “DE” to 741741.
For those 18 years old and older, the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health Crisis Intervention Services has a Mobile Crisis statewide line at (800) 652-2929; for Kent County and Sussex County it can be reached at (800) 345-6785 while New Castle County’s is (302) 577-2484.
“If you recognize any signs of suicidal behavior, please reach out,” said Jill Rogers, executive director of Delaware Guidance Services, the provider that manages the Child Priority Response Line. “Our crisis clinicians are trained to help families work through crisis situations and direct them to needed resources.”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Delaware provides numerous webinars and training to help recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts, suicide prevention and how to improve mental health.
It offers a free one-hour virtual training on suicide prevention several times a month. The next available dates are Oct. 12 and Oct. 20 at noon. Registration can be found here.
NAMI Delaware’s session teaches QPR, which stands for question, persuade and refer. Three simple steps it says can help save a life just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help.
The state has also created a mental health-focused website, www.mentalhealthde.com. which is now managed by Mental Health Association in Delaware. More than 27,000 online suicide prevention trainings have been done for school personnel since 2017 as well.
Delaware’s youth crisis text line has resulted in nine active rescues as a result of text conversation.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we normalize talking about mental health and asking the tough questions,” said Jennifer Smolowitz, project director for suicide prevention at the Mental Health Association in Delaware, in a statement.
“When it comes to talking about suicide and being concerned about someone’s actions and/or behaviors, it is important that we intervene and get the person the help he or she needs. Never push to tomorrow a conversation you can have today. We must continue to come together as a community and create a safer state.”