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.
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.
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.
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.
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