Breaking News
More () »

'It's OK to speak up': Look for these warning signs that could lead to suicide, therapist says

A Charlotte-based mental health counselor is seeking solutions to help people look for warning signs of suicide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — September is Suicide Prevention Month, an important time for mental health experts across the country, including the Charlotte area. 

Jhazmine Smith, a clinician, provides several services for patients of all ages. Smith says she serves patients ranging from young kids to senior citizens with mostly teens and kids utilizing her in-home counseling. 

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

When it comes to identifying the signs of suicide, Smith says the first priority is understanding how serious the situation is. She said loved ones can start the process by asking simple questions like how they're doing or watching for triggers. 

"The first thing is just assessing the risk," she said. "Triggers can be loneliness, bereavement, social disparities, hopelessness and worthlessness."

Data pulled from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows that in the first three months of this year, rates for self-inflicted injury hospital visits were highest among girls age 10-18. In 2020, the rate of suicide among boys in the same age group was 2.3 times higher than that of girls. 

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

When asked why that would happen, Smith said boys and girls generally respond differently with acts of self-harm. 

"What I do know as a professional, and my opinion is that boys are usually more intentional and they're more violent in their acts," Smith said. 

Smith has a simple message for everyone as we begin Suicide Prevention Month: check on your loved ones. She said for anyone who is having thoughts of suicide or suicide ideation, it's OK to speak up. No matter what your needs are, it's always time to ask for help. 

Contact Kia Murray at kmurray@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram.

Suicide Prevention Month: Digital town hall

WCNC Charlotte is teaming up with medical professionals on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 12:30 p.m. EDT during Suicide Prevention Month for a digital town hall. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services director of the division of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance use services Kelly Crosbie and New Hope Treatment Center's chief operations officer and licensed marriage and family therapist Matt Simon will be available to raise awareness about suicide as a serious public health problem and to answer people's questions about how they can help prevent suicide. 

Submit any questions you may have by texting the word PREVENT to 704-329-3600. 

Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.   
SUBSCRIBEApple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora   || TuneIn || Google Podcasts   

All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out