Recognizing and Preventing Suicide

Rachael Jasperson discusses the changes and warning signs to look for when dealing with suicide prevention.

My name is Rachael Jasperson. I’m and LCSW PHD. I’m the Director of Assessment and Referral for Mountain Star hospitals. When you start to look for warning signs of suicide, what you’re looking for is you’re looking for change, something that’s different. So either the warning signs are something that are new,or the warning signs are something that have increased in intensity.

Somebody who becomes very withdrawn, somebody who seems to be very preoccupied with death. People tend to start to become less future-oriented. They don’t think about what’s coming next. They don’t think about graduating from college or graduating from high school. When you see a major change in sleeping patterns, they’re sleeping excessively, they’re awake excessively because they are very preoccupied with the pain.

A sudden on set of peace, where they have accepted that they are going to go ahead and take this step and have come to peace with the fact that they see an end to their pain. What people really need is to feel loved,to feel important, and to feel validated. A lot of the avoidance of talking about suicide or asking somebody if they’re thinking about killing themselves is about avoiding our own discomfort with the topic, and less so about avoiding somebody else’s discomfort.

In that moment, at that time, it really needs to be about them and about what they’re going through. Here at St.  Mark’s, we have an acute behavioral health unit,so an inpatient behavioral health unit. It’s a beautiful unit with social workers and fabulous nurses where you or your loved one will see a psychiatrist daily and learn some coping skills, or learn some other avenues to help you deal with your pain.

We also have an IOP, which is an intensive outpatient program for both mental health and substance use. Any intensive outpatient program is a minimum of nine hours of therapy a week. That includes group therapy. It includes individual therapy. It includes marriage therapy, because your family is part of your healing process. We have lots of licensed clinicians here to help you.