Suicide Risk Assessment & Care at Penn Highlands

Suicide Can Be Prevented

Suicide Risk Assessment and Care

If you or someone close to you is having thoughts or harming themselves or others, you should immediately call 9-1-1 or go to the closest emergency department. One of the most effective keys to preventing suicide is asking the person if they are at risk of hurting themselves and then getting them to immediate professional help.

You also can call:
Clearfield Jefferson County suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-341-5040
The National Suicide Prevention Line at 1--800-273-8255

Suicide Prevention and Treatment

There has been an alarming 30 percent increase in suicide in the United States since 2000, making it the 10th leading cause of death—and the second highest cause of death for young people. The causes of suicide are complex, and suicidal thoughts are the result of many factors. The goal of suicide prevention is to reduce the factors that increase risk and increase factors that promote resilience.

While there are many multifaceted causes of suicide, it is often preventable. The mental health professionals at Penn Highlands can help assess suicide risk and provide useful guidance on suicide prevention for individuals and their loved ones. We offer both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services to perform a suicide risk assessment and manage the underlying mental health disorder leading to suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is not a voluntary choice that people can “will” away with a positive attitude. Suicide can occur in people who others think “have it all” or “don’t have anything to worry about.” Suicide generally is caused by an underlying mental health condition, such as depression, but it also can be triggered by a physical illness, medication, or life event. It is not normal for a person to want to commit suicide, but that person may not be able to see that at the time—that’s why they need others to step in. Anyone having suicidal thoughts needs treatment by a trained mental health professional.

What Are Suicide Risk Factors?

Anyone can be at risk of attempting to harm themselves—old, young, any gender, any ethnicity, any educational or income level. Some factors also can increase suicide risk, including:

  • Behavioral health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and substance abuse
  • Serious health problems like chronic pain
  • Stressors such as unemployment, bullying, divorce, and financial problems
  • Childhood trauma or abuse
  • Family history of suicide

Access to firearms or medications—including over-the-counter medicine such as Tylenol-- increases the risk of suicide in someone with any of these risk factors and should be securely locked up.

If you are a loved one of someone with any of these risk factors, you should seek professional mental health guidance around possible signs and interventions. Penn Highlands behavioral health staff is trained not only to help the person at risk of suicide but also the family and close friends.

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