BY GUEST AUTHOR/CONTRIBUTOR, STEVE JOHNSON
Suicide is often thought of as an intentional act, potentially planned and done for a specific reason. However, when people are reckless in their actions and choices, unintentional suicide can occur. People who become addicted to any substance are at a much higher risk for suicide.
If a person ceases to care about their wellbeing and dies as a result, it is still a form of suicide caused by depression, hopelessness, or any other number of mental struggles. Preventing this type of unplanned suicide can be a little more difficult than helping someone who is actively contemplating suicide. Here are a few suggestions on preventing a tragedy in someone with an addiction.
Try to Prevent Driving Under the Influence
A very common unintentional suicide occurs while driving under the influence of a substance. Reckless behavior such as drunk driving or driving while high can be an indicator that the person no longer cares about their life.
If possible, prevent
the person from getting behind the wheel if they are in a noticeably altered state. Though this may be
difficult and can result in anger from the person, it is preferable that your loved one stays alive and upset with you as opposed to appeased and gone. This behavior should also be noted if you feel it is a symptom of depression or suicidal thoughts.
Locate Professional Help
People who are at risk for unintentional suicide are typically not at the stage where they want or feel they need help. This can make getting them into a therap
y class or AA a trying task. If your loved one is resistant to the idea of therapy, seek advice from a professional. You may speak with a counselor, a group leader for a support group, or even contact a 24-hour hotline
Of course, if your loved one is receptive to the idea of getting help for their addiction, it is best to find a counselor to meet with them regularly in order to resolve both the addiction and life-endangering actions.
Build a Support Network
Find and gather people who are willing and able to support your loved one. The more people who are privy to your loved one’s addiction and reckless behavior, the less likely they are to find themselves in a dangerous situation as a result of their substance abuse. A network of people
can halt any driving under the influence, control access to the substance, and help convince the person to seek help.
Something like this should not be a burden on a single person. Multiple people should be available as support and guidance. The stress of monitoring an addict’s behavior and recovery is too much for any one person. Trying to take the situation on by yourself will only work to deteriorate your own mental and physical health.
Preventing suicide in any case is frightening and stressful. Feeling as though your loved one’s well-being depends on your vigilance is enough to cause anyone anxiety. Instead, recruit a support network to ensure the person’s safety and oversee their eventual recovery. The true goal is to get them to a place where they will accept professional help and begin to recover.
Similar to other peer-to-peer support groups, persons experiencing similar thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and struggles relating to suicidal ideation, within themselves or a loved one, benefit from the autonomous environment of sharing and healing.
Peer Support Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Specialists and QPR(Question. Persuade. Refer.)volunteers. These mentor style facilitators have successfully supported suicidal individuals and their families (and/or) been trained in suicide intervention. Groups are designed to provide HOPE and healing to those challenged by the topic of suicide ideation or attempt. H.O.P.E. Peer Support Groups are available for FREE to the suicidal individual as well as their loved ones.
FRIENDS & FAMILY – Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday (6:00-7:00pm) at the LiFE OF HOPE office.
NOTE: Peer Support Groups are not intended to take the place of psychiatric health care. Certified Peer Specialists are not counselors, social workers, or psychologists. If you need assistance locating a mental health professional, contact the LiFE OF HOPE office for a list of referrals within Washington County.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Steve Johnson co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org
as part of a school project. He and a fellow pre-med student enjoyed working on the site so much that they decided to keep it going. Their goal is to make PublicHealthLibrary.org one of the go-to sources for health and medical information on the web.