How to Help Those with Depression or Suicidal Thoughts

I was saddened to hear of the two recent celebrity suicides. I was sad for their families and also for them.

But I was also anxious. I knew that I would soon be receiving texts and emails full of questions about, “why?”  I don’t know why these things happen. Each person’s story is unique. There may be certain risk factors and things that could be done to prevent suicide. But there is no simple formula to predict or prevent these types of things.

Many are also saddened to hear that suicide rates are climbing nationwide. In New York state, the suicide rate rose about 30 percent between 1999 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Things That Can Help

For me, I deal with all of this by focusing on what we can do to help people battling depression and suicidal thoughts. Some of the top ways include:

  1. Effective mental health treatment. Evidence-based-treatments – including cognitive behavioral therapy – could help. This therapy revolves around helping you handle mood fluctuations and stressful situations. Talk to your physician for more information.
  2. Connection to the world around you. This includes your connection to family, pets, caregivers, therapists, and church or spiritual communities. These connections provide you with a purpose, support, and something to live for. In dark times, it helps to wake up with a purpose and wake up to someone to love and/or to be loved by.
  3. Try to stay sober during sad times. Substances like drugs or alcohol can make you feel isolated or make obstacles appear insurmountable.

Additional Resources

Remember: If you need to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also offers additional suicide prevention information:

Ann Griepp, M.D.

Ann Griepp, M.D.

Ann Griepp, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Excellus BCBS, hails from Michigan, but has lived in Rochester since she started her psychiatry residency and neuropsychiatry fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center.Griepp is board certified in psychiatry and by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.She is married, lives in Pittsford, Monroe County, and has two college age children and two pretty naughty dogs. Ann loves children, cooking, fencing, and always has a puzzle going in her office for stress-reduction.
Ann Griepp, M.D.

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3 thoughts on “How to Help Those with Depression or Suicidal Thoughts

  1. Porchia Stewart says:

    Ann thank you for the article. I agree very timely. We must begin talking and stop hiding and remove the stigma surrounding depression! Let it begin with us! Let Excellus begin the conversation!

  2. Alicia Evans says:

    I pray for folks who call in on the phone with problems. I thankfully haven’t had a suicide call yet but with the world in such shape…I should have an answer for them. I do not give advice. I do give Scripture to encourage.

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