Hilda Marie’s worst nightmare was unfolding right before her eyes. Teetering at the edge of the platform was a woman poised to jump in front of an oncoming train. What would you do?
For Hilda, there was no question. She turned to the skills she learned in the eight-hour Mental Health First Aid class she completed. She contacted the station manager to secure help and calmly talked to reassure the woman until help arrived. Her actions saved a life that day.
Mental Health First Aid doesn’t teach you to be a therapist. It equips you to recognize signs of distress and guide a person toward appropriate treatments and other supportive health care. It teaches you how to help someone who is in crisis and how to be a support to someone struggling with mental health or substance use disorders.
And as Hilda learned, it also teaches you how to keep a bad situation from becoming a crisis.
Suicide is more common than you think. Someone in this country dies by suicide every 12.8 seconds, according to the most recent statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It could be a daughter struggling with the academic and social pressure of high school or a friend who is going through a divorce or a co-worker who is about to lose his job.
So what do you do if you think someone is considering suicide? Simply put, get a dialogue going. Fast!
Unfortunately, we cannot prevent all suicides, but if more of us learn what to look for and how to act, each of us can make a difference and maybe save a life.