We understand that a career in veterinary medicine can be immensely rewarding, but we also acknowledge that it can become overwhelming and stressful at times. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and we know it is important to take care of our teams every day of every month of every year. This month’s Wellness Corner is dedicated to highlighting and sharing important information on suicide prevention.
There are an average of 123 suicides each day in the US making it the 12th leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24. In recent years, society has become more open and receptive to discussions and conversations on suicide. However, there is still a stigma surrounding it and with suicide rates increasing. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.
Many people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. As a result, people rarely communicate openly about suicide. Therefore, an important public health problem is left hidden in secrecy, which can hinder effective prevention efforts.
Although it may be difficult to approach the topic of suicide, reach out to those who are in distress. Often, family and friends are the first to recognize the warning signs of suicide and can be the first step toward helping an at-risk individual find treatment with someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.
You should reach out for professional help if you or someone you know is showing any of the following warning signs:
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Giving away prized possessions
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Exhibiting daring or risk-taking behaviors
- Showing lack of interest in future plans
5 steps for helping someone who may be suicidal
1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
4. Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 988. You can also help the at-risk person make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional to reach out to when suicidal thoughts arise.
5. Stay connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
It can be frightening when a friend or loved one reveals or shows signs of suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 988 to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.
Dr. Nicole McArthur founded an organization called Not One More Vet. This is an online support group with over 26,000 veterinary professionals worldwide that exists to create a sense of community and support. You can learn more about the amazing work this organization does by visiting https://www.nomv.org.
Warmline (for those who aren’t in crisis, but want to talk to someone)
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 to reach a Crisis Counselor 24/7/365
The Trevor Lifeline (for LGBTQIA youth)
Veterans Crisis Line (connect with a VA responder)
It’s easy to see photos of celebrities and models with brilliant white teeth and want that for ourselves. There are many methods that purport to lift the color of our teeth by removing stains, but some of them are safer – and more effective – than others.
Brush your teeth with a paste made of baking soda and water (or use a toothpaste that contains sodium bicarbonate). After a few weeks, the baking soda will gently remove stains from your teeth. Limiting intake of staining beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine will help your teeth stay whiter.
There are many charcoal-based products to lighten teeth. However, a recent study shows that charcoal does not remove tooth stains. Charcoal can actually harm your teeth over time by wearing down the top layer of your enamel.
There are over-the-counter toothpastes and whitening trays that contain hydrogen peroxide, which gradually whitens your teeth. Look for products that contain the American Dental Association’s seal of approval and follow the instructions for the best results. There are some possible side effects, such as sensitive teeth and gum irritation.
Your health and wellbeing matter to us at PPV. Your career matters to us. You matter to us.
If you would like additional information on emotional and mental health, you can confidentially contact me at the information below.