Suicide prevention: Dial help can assist those who struggle with mental illness

HOUGHTON — Suicide isn’t exactly a comfortable topic to talk about – but the more we do, the more hope there is for the people in our communities who are struggling. They may be depressed; dealing with an illness, abuse, or addiction; or looking for an escape from their pain. The reasons vary, but there’s one thing they all have in common: suicide is preventable. And we can all play a part.

“I know that people are struggling.” said Kristine Putz, Assistant Director for Dial Help,  “With everything that came along with the pandemic, with places closing, with losing jobs and losing income and how that impacted families and individuals and things like that. But what I like to point out to people when I am talking to them is that struggling with something and then reaching out are very, very different things. And I know for sure we have people who are struggling,  but they aren’t reaching out. And it’s really hard to reach out. when you’re struggling. And if you can encourage people in your life to  talk to somebody, even … a crisis helpline, that can help them greatly.”

Signs that someone is suicidal can vary from person to person. Listen to your gut if something seems off. Common warning signs include:

— Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

— Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

— Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

— Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

— Talking about being a burden to others

— Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

— Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

— Sleeping too little or too much

— Withdrawing or isolating themselves

— Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

— Extreme mood swings

— A sudden change to positive/euphoric mood while giving things away or making similar arrangements

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, reach out to Dial Help 24/7 by calling 906-482-HELP (or toll-free 800-562-7622), texting 35NEEDS (906-356-3337), or chatting online at Dial Help also has programs and resources that can provide safety long-term. Community members and professionals who want to get involved in suicide prevention locally can reach out to their Communities That Care (CTC) coalition at Professionals can network and find information for the Upper Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition at