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Calls for help with mental illness can help prevent several cases of suicide. Since depression and substance abuse are linked to suicide, receiving treatment for these disorders can help prevent tragic events.

The malaise associated with mental illness can prevent people from asking and accepting the necessary help; the willingness to speak openly about depression and suicide with a friend, family member or colleague can be the first step in receiving and obtaining the assistance necessary to prevent suicide.

If you know someone you think may be at risk, be sure to:Listen to their feelings with genuine concern. Don’t give advice, but let them know they are not alone.Share your feelings with them.

If you think they might make an imprudent decision, say you care. They need to know that they are important to you and that you care.Gently ask if they have thought about suicide. If you feel that you cannot ask the question, find someone who can.

Research helps determine which factors can be changed to prevent suicide and which interventions are suitable for specific groups of people. Before being put into practice, prevention programs should be research tested to determine their safety and efficacy.

For example, because research has shown that mental disorders and drug addiction are major risk factors for suicide, many programs also focus on treating these conditions, addressing the risk of suicide directly as well.

Studies have shown that a certain type of psychotherapy, called cognitive therapy, reduced the repeat suicide attempt rate by 50 percent in one year of the procedure. A previous suicide attempt is among the strong predictors of a later episode, and cognitive therapy helps make suicide seekers consider alternative actions when thoughts of self-harm arise.

A treatment called dialectical behavior therapy reduced suicide attempts in half compared to other types of therapy in people with borderline personality disorder (a severe emotion regulation disorder).

Clozapine is a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for suicide prevention in people with schizophrenia.What should I do if I think someone is at risk of suicide?If you think someone is at risk, never leave them alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his doctor or the emergency room of the nearest hospital, or call 118. Prevent him from accessing firearms or other tools of potential suicide, including drugs.

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