Steps for helping someone in crisis: Davis Health System shares suicide prevention tips

ELKINS, WV — According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), there are an average of 132 suicide deaths per day.

In September, Davis Health System behavioral health programs are supporting national efforts to bring suicide prevention awareness to our communities.

Marlana Pennington, BSN, PMH RN-BC, is the director of DMC’s Laurel Place unit. “We are asking our community to learn the evidence-based action steps to take if someone you know is in crisis.  Knowing how to recognize warning signs, and how to address them, may help save a life of someone you love,” she said. “People have access to help, it’s important to help them navigate their options.”

The AFSP offers the following five-step process for helping someone in crisis.

  1. ASK. Asking “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken.
  2. BE THERE. Being there for someone could mean physically being present, talking on the phone, through video chat, or any other means of showing support. It is very important that you do not commit to things you are not willing or able to accomplish and ensure that the ways you say you will provide support happen.
  3. KEEP THEM SAFE. If you have determined your loved one is thinking about suicide it is then important to establish immediate safety. This can be done by asking questions like “Have you tried to do anything to harm yourself?” “Do you have a specific, detailed plan? If so, what are the timing and their access to the method?” Knowing the answers to each of these questions can help you determine the level of danger the person is in. For example, the more specific steps they have in place for their plan, the higher their severity of risk is.
  4. HELP THEM CONNECT. Connect them with the new 988 Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line’s number 741741. Help them explore their options. Have they seen a mental health professional in the past? If so, could they see them again? What mental health resources are available in your community? Do they have a safety plan in place?
  5. FOLLOW UP. After you have connected them to the immediate support they need, it’s important to follow up to see how they are doing. Following up allows them to ask for more help if needed and you an opportunity to do anything you said you would do but haven’t gotten the chance to do yet.

Davis Health System offers multiple behavioral health programs geared to individuals:  Laurel Place, a short-term, inpatient program at Davis Medical Center (DMC) geared to those 65 and older; Senior Life Solutions, an outpatient, group therapy program offered in Webster and Barbour counties; outpatient behavioral health counseling by Jennifer Abel, PMHNP, at Buckhannon Medical Care; and, Dr. Lauren DeMarco, psychiatrist, who offers diagnosis and treatment by appointment.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.  If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Please use the Davis Health System referral contacts below:

  • Laurel Place, call 304-630-3508 or fax 304-630-3551.
  • Senior Life Solutions, Barbour County/Broaddus Hospital call 304-457-8131.
  • Senior Life Solutions, Webster County/Broaddus Hospital call 304-847-2018.
  • Buckhannon Medical Care, call 3-4-472-1600.
  • Dr. Lauren DeMarco, DMC, call 304-637-3179.

News Feed