As September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Howard Center is dedicated to shedding light on this critical issue and providing vital resources for the community.
Suicide is an indiscriminate crisis, affecting people from all walks of life. If you or someone you know is grappling with suicidal thoughts, there is help and hope available. There are individuals who genuinely care who are available to provide support, and a wealth of resources designed to guide individuals through these challenging times.
Recognizing the Signs
Identifying signs that someone may be contemplating suicide is essential, as early intervention can be life-saving. While some signals may be overt, such as open discussions about suicidal thoughts, others can be more subtle. It’s crucial to know what to look for to make a difference. Here are common symptoms to be aware of:
- Open discussion of suicidal thoughts or a desire to die.
- Sudden shifts from deep sadness to a seemingly “back to normal” or upbeat demeanor, possibly indicating acceptance of the decision to attempt suicide.
- Giving away cherished possessions or making farewell statements.
- Dramatic mood swings, increased use of alcohol or drugs, or social withdrawal.
These signs underscore the importance of staying vigilant, even when things appear to improve. Recognizing these symptoms is a crucial step, and it’s essential to reach out, regardless of how awkward or challenging it might seem. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or someone else, your intervention could be lifesaving.
Preventing Suicide Through Safe Firearm Storage
Suicide is a significant concern in Vermont, ranking as the 9th leading cause of death in the state, with 52% of suicides involving firearms, according to Vermont Vital Statistics and the Vermont Department of Health.
“In Vermont, where over half of suicides involve firearms, safe storage is a necessity and can save lives,” said Mark Margolis, Howard Center’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “That’s why we’re offering free gunlocks to members of the community and their friends and families.”
Access to firearms at home increases the risk of suicide. To help prevent such tragedies, Howard Center is offering free gunlocks which are available for pick-up at 208 Flynn Avenue in Burlington M-F from 8:30 a.m. – 4 pm. Safe firearm storage is a critical preventive measure, and these gun locks are available for free while supplies last. For more info, contact First Call for Chittenden County: 802-488-7777. For more Vermont gunlock distribution sites, visit: justice.gov/usao-vt/gunsafe-vt.
Helpful Crisis Numbers
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please consider reaching out to the following resources, available day or night:
- Howard Center First Call for Chittenden County: 802-488-7777 (Local).
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 9-8-8 (National).
- Crisis Text Line: Text “VT” to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis (State/National).
- In immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or seek assistance at the Emergency Department.
Additionally, Howard Center offers a comprehensive and free information and resource guide, “Suicide Prevention Across the Lifespan.” Recently updated to its third edition, this guide is designed to provide general information on suicide prevention to anyone living or working in Chittenden County. Additionally, translations are now available in French, Nepali, Somali, and Swahili. To access the resource guide, and for more information, translated suicide prevention materials, and available support, please visit howardcenter.org/suicide-prevention.
If you are interested in learning more about Suicide Prevention, Gatekeeper Training or to request copies of the guide, please call Howard Center at 802-488-6000.