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OCSD walks focus on suicide prevention; events offered chance to teach about ways to help
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OCSD walks focus on suicide prevention; events offered chance to teach about ways to help

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The Orangeburg County School District participated in an #ALLIN walk to fight against suicide last week.

Walks took place at many of the county’s schools and at the walking trail at the Regional Medical Center on Sept. 16.

Although September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, OCSD says it’s going beyond September to provide support to students, faculty and staff members who may be in crisis and need additional support.

During the walk, the OCSD mental health team within the Department of Student Services provided information on the warning signs of suicide and ways to receive help.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals 10-34 and is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.”

The district says employees walked on Sept. 16 to honor those who have struggled with finding hope.

Warning signs of suicide include:

• Sleeping too much or too little

• Acting anxious or upset

• Showing rage

• Withdrawing or isolating

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• Extreme mood swings

• Behaving recklessly

• Increasing use of drugs and/or alcohol

• Talking about seeking revenge

• Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or a burden to others

• Looking for a way to commit suicide (for example, buying a gun)

• Talking about suicide or wanting to die

The National Institute for Mental Health recommends the following steps to help a loved one dealing with emotional pain and suicidal thoughts or intentions (which are more serious than thoughts):

• Ask: Confront your loved one in a caring and nonjudgmental way by saying: “I care about you, and I am worried. Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?” Research shows questioning does not increase suicides or the thought of suicide. As this can be a difficult thing to do, you might seek support from someone else who cares about the person.

• Keep them safe: Ask the person if they have any weapons or other lethal items that are easily accessible. If they do, help this person figure out a plan for removing the weapons so that they cannot be accessed.

• Be there: Be open to listening and learning what the person is experiencing, thinking and feeling. Simply being with the person and listening is a great way to show that you care, and it might help your loved one open up to you.

• Help them connect: Help your loved one find a mental health professional. Provide resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), where trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, contact your local mental health agency.

If the situation is potentially life-threatening, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

• Stay connected: Keep in touch with the person after they are connected with a mental health professional. Following up with people who are thinking about suicide decreases their risk of committing suicide.

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