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It only takes one to save a life. You can be that person.

Nearly 800,000 people die from suicide each year. That's one person every 40 seconds. It only takes one person to save a life and you can be that person.

It's only human to experience moments of grief, anxiety and depression, but sometimes those feelings can be more than we can cope with on our own. That’s why it’s important for us to know who our “one” person is – the one we can talk to openly and honestly about how we’re feeling. Knowing who this person is before we’re going through something can help us cope with the hard days, weeks and seasons. For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we are asking you to do just this: Find your one and be the one for someone else. So, how can we look out for each other?

1. Build a Personal Protector Network
Creating and ensuring you and your loved ones have a trustworthy network of supporters that includes friends, family and medical professionals plays a key role in mental health and well-being.

2. Commit to Having Honest Conversations
Guarantee you are taking care of your loved ones by having open and honest conversations about how you are doing and how they are doing, and challenge each other to make mental health a priority.

3. Be Kind to Others
Showing compassion for those around you might be the simplest strategy you can use when it comes to making an impact on suicide statistics. Dr. Shelly Farnan is the Vice President of Be Well Initiatives at Burrell Behavioral Health. “It’s really empathy and willingness,” Dr. Farnan says. “We all have the ability to change lives and instill hope.” When you notice someone is struggling—even if you’re not close to them, or if you don’t know them at all—say something.

4. Know the Warning Signs
The more warning signs there are, the more the risk for suicide rises. Not everyone has warning signs, but many do. Here’s what to look for:

  • Direct and/or indirect verbal cues. For example, “I wish I was dead,” or, “My family would be better off without me.”
  • Behavioral cues: History of suicide attempts, uncharacteristic firearm purchase, saving medication, change in mood, giving away possessions, substance use, unexplained anger, aggression or irritability, or sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Situational cues: Loss of job, expulsion from school, unwanted move, significant loss, serious or terminal illness, loss of freedom, loss of financial security, or fear of being a burden.
  • General mood or comments about hopelessness.

Using these tips, you can help save a life. If you or a loved one are in a mental health crisis, please call 1-800-494-7355 or 988. You also can walk in to the 24/7 Behavioral Crisis Center at 800 S. Park Ave., Springfield, MO 65802.


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24-Hour Crisis Line

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis, please call our toll-free 24-hour telephone line. Our team can help provide immediate assistance.

Southwest Missouri: 1-800-494-7355

Central Missouri: 1-800-395-2132

National Help Line: Call or Text 988