Psychologist uses his own life lessons – including a failed suicide attempt – to help others thinking about taking their own lives

After someone commits suicide, family members and friends are left to wonder why. They reconstruct recent events and interactions, trying to recall any signs that their loved one was contemplating taking their own life.

Insider Louisville Logo“The biggest feeling is guilt for not seeing it,” Dr. Josh Smith, a licensed clinical psychologist, says in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “Even when the individual does not show any discernible signs you feel like there is something that you missed.”

During National Suicide Awareness Month this month, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) encourages everyone to share resources and stories in an effort to simply talk about the highly stigmatized topic.

In Kentucky, suicide is on the rise, with 776 deaths occurring in 2017. There were 584 deaths by suicide in Jefferson County between 2011 and 2015.

To help tackle this issue, the Louisville Health Advisory Board is holding free suicide prevention training at 85 locations around Jefferson County from Sept. 9 through 15 in association with National Suicide Prevention Week. The 90-minute “Question. Persuade. Refer.” (QPR) sessions are designed to teach people how to respond to someone in crisis and are taught much like CPR. The goal of the training is to educate people on how to talk with someone who might be at risk. To learn more and see a complete list of the times and locations, please go online to qprlou.com.

To hear more from Dr. Smith, including his very personal stories about suicide, please click here.

 

Louisville Health Advisory Board plans free suicide prevention trainings to help reduce deaths

One person dies by suicide in Kentucky about every 11 hours, making it the 11th leading cause of death overall, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Efforts to increase suicide prevention and awareness include many different things, but the Louisville Health Advisory Board (LHAB) is adding something new this year.

To try to bring suicides in the city down to zero, LHAB — of which Passport is a proud member — is offering suicide prevention training in more than 85 locations during National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-15) as part of its “Bold Moves Against Suicide Louisville” initiative.

“The concept is that any suicide that exists may be related to an opportunity to stop that suicide,” said Dr. Val Slayton, a member of the LHAB behavioral health committee. “And an important part of being able to stop suicide is by having individuals understand what to look for. And then how to intervene.”

The free 90-minute “Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR)” training is designed to teach people how to respond to someone in crisis and is taught much like CPR. It is designed to teach people how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope and how to get help and save a life.

To see where the classes are being offered, please go online to qprlou.org. If you or someone you know is in crisis, the national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. The Crisis Text Line is also available 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741.

 

Many Men Have a Hard Time Talking About Depression, Especially Around the Holidays

Insider Louisville LogoWhile most people associate the holidays with happiness, it can also be an especially challenging time for those suffering from depression. And an often-overlooked segment of society dealing with depression is middle-aged men.

The worst outcome for depression, of course, is suicide. In the U.S., white males commit suicide at a rate more than double that of any other group, and more men age 45-54 are victims than any other age ranges.

Dr. Jesse Wright, director of the University of Louisville Depression Center, said there are many reasons men don’t get the help they need.

“For some reason men seem to have a harder time talking about it, identifying that they have it and getting help,” Wright said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “We’ve seen right here in Louisville some terrible tragedies, even physicians that know about depression, know that help works, but for one reason or another didn’t get that help and ended up as a suicide.

“In men, depression is often a silent killer. If it doesn’t kill, it’s a silent damager, to their careers, to their relationships with their family, to their own personal health.”

To see a video of Dr. Wright speaking more about this issue, please click here.

 

Father shares his son’s story to help prevent other Kentucky youth from committing suicide

Insider Louisville LogoWhen Steve Ulrich talks to high school students about suicide, he comes armed with some frightening statistics.

For example, many don’t know that 1 in 10 students have made a suicide plan.

That number, along with many others he shares, seems unreal. But then he tells the story of a senior at Manual High, an all-star football player, who ended his life just a year ago.

“We talk about suicide after the fact; in reality, it’s a mental health issue,” he says in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “With depression, things are going on in our mental health world that we’re not addressing.”

Ulrich has been committed to providing information about suicide prevention since his 20-year-old son Nathan lost his life to suicide in 2002.

For more information, please click here to read the article, or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go online to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

 

Carter County officials talk about need for suicide prevention during recent workshop

suicide prevention life line logoKentucky is one of the top 20 states for suicide, with nearly 700 Kentuckians taking their own lives each year, according to the latest confirmed figures available.

However, suicide is often considered a taboo subject, rarely addressed publicly by elected officials, other community leaders and the news media.

That changed recently in Carter County, when Sheriff Jeff May and state Rep. Jill York of Grayson collaborated with County Judge-Executive Mike Malone for a recent suicide-prevention workshop.

Rep. York told Kentucky Health News that officials need “to step forward and be able to pull the resources together and throw the push behind it … to say, we’re going to talk about this even if it’s uncomfortable because it’s important, because we’ve got lives we’ve got to save. Stop being polite, stop letting it be something that we don’t talk about. To say, if we are losing one person in our community to this, then that is too many.”

The workshop was led by local experts on mental health from nearby universities, Pathways Inc., and the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group.

For 24/7 assistance and information about local resources or clinicians equipped to deal with suicidal patients, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). To contact the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, call (859) 429-1930 or email kspginc@gmail.com. More information is also available on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Suicide Prevention Program website by clicking here.