Editor’s note: This is the third of a series of articles on depression and suicide awareness and prevention in Tooele County.
People at risk for suicide usually show warning signs, but those signs may be missed or intentionally hidden, according the Utah Department of Health.
If people are aware of the signs, there are steps they can take to help people at risk of suicide, according to Doug Thomas, director of the state Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
Warning sides of suicide include threats or comments about suicide.
A person at risk of suicide might say things like, “I wish I wasn’t here,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Other signs of suicide may include increased alcohol and drug use, aggressive behavior, withdrawal from friends and family, dramatic mood swings, impulsive or reckless behavior, talking, writing or thinking about death, according to NAMI.
People at risk of suicide may begin putting their affairs in order, give away possessions and say good-bye to friends and family, according to NAMI.
But help is available for people at risk of suicide and those trying to help them from a variety of sources. One of many resources is the University Neuropsychiatric Institute’s crisis line at 801-587-3000.
Expert counselors trained in mental health crisis management and suicide prevention staff UNI’s crisis line.
The UNI crisis line can also be reached through the SafeUT app, which can be downloaded to smart phones at either the Apple app store or the Google play store.
Other sources of support in a crisis include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
The Life’s Worth Living Foundation also maintains a local support line at 435-248-LIVE (5483).
The Utah Department of Health encourages the safe and proper storage of firearms to help prevent suicide deaths. In Utah, 88 percent of all firearm deaths are by suicide, according to state statistics.
One half of all teen deaths by suicide are by firearms, according to UDH.
If somebody is showing signs of suicide, the health department recommends making sure firearms and ammunition are locked separately. Locks may need to be changed so a person at risk of suicide does not have access to a firearm.
UDH also suggests that a friend may keep the keys to a friend’s firearms or offer to relocate the firearms while the person is in crisis.
Putting time or distance between a firearm and a person in crisis can stop an impulsive decision and possibly save a life, according to UDH.
Statistics show that up to 90 percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric condition at the time of their death, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
There are several resources available in Tooele County for people at risk of suicide, according to Thomas.
Valley Behavioral Health contracts with Tooele County to manage mental health and substance misuse needs of county residents.
VBH provides services for depression, anxiety, mental health, suicide, loss and grief, bullying and cyberbullying, drug and alcohol problems, self-harm, relationship difficulties, and life change, according to its website.
VBH accepts Medicaid, some private insurance, and self-pay. It also offers sliding scale fees for those who qualify based on financial circumstances.
VBH has an office in Tooele City at 100 S. 1000 North and in Wendover, Utah. VBH also operate a Children’s Center in Tooele City at 27 S. Main Street.
During business hours, VBH can be reached at 435-843-3520 during the day, or county dispatch can be called in the evenings and weekends at 435-882-5600 for access to an emergency mental health worker.
Local clinics like Bonneville Mental Health also provide mental health services. There also are individual mental health counselors in Tooele County, like Evan Kenison with Sunset Counseling Services at North Point Medical Clinic.
These are only a sample of a few of the mental health practitioners in Tooele County, according to Thomas.
Thomas encourages people to check with their insurance provider for a list of mental health providers that accept their insurance.