Resources in ND available when mental health and suicide grief becomes too much

Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 6:35 PM CST
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Programs such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and First Link provide resources to those in need of mental health assistance and suicide grief relief.

In 2019, 154 people completed suicide in North Dakota.

Awareness is the first step in combating suicide, the second is reaching out for help.

"We know from the research that's been done that if there's just a hesitation, and when I say hesitation, a phone call, a knock on the door, anything just enough hesitation sometimes will change people’s minds and they'll realize that there are people that care, and that it’s not the right thing to do," said Brain Gale, president of ND AFSP.

Those people are the ones checking in on their friends and family and notice when changes happen.

"The more support a person has, if they have more friends and family to support them during that time, it can be really helpful," said Dr. Diane Nelson, a psychiatrist at CHI St. Alexius.

Psychiatrists recommend people visit the emergency room when help is urgent.

"If someone is feeling suicidal and that they might actually act on it, then going to the ER is what I want people to do for their safety," said Nelson.

However, resources such as First Link are answered locally and connect people calling from all over the state to help nearest them.

But those impacted by the loss of a person to suicide are also encouraged to seek help.

"There's another element to suicide that is different, and we understand one another," said Kathleen Dwyer, a mother.

Sounds of Silence in Bismarck offers a support group that meets twice a month.

"None of us would chose to be in this group, but thank God it’s here, because we need it,” said Dwyer.

At the national level, the Federal Communications Commission is working to provide a three-digit number for the crisis hotline.

Because together, the statistics can be lowered.

"We know we can cut the numbers down by taking certain actions," said Gale.

But only by reaching out for help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, contact the suicide hotline at 1- (800)-273-TALK.

Those looking to get involved in the Sounds of Silence Support Group can contact Brenda Began at 701-426-1021.