September 10, 2012
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) along with the Bureaus of Behavioral Health (BBH) and Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) are collaborating with the State’s Suicide Prevention Council to recognize World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on Monday, September 10, 2012 by stressing the importance of integrating prevention.
This year’s theme is What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet, A Prescription for Danger? Data shows poisonings are the most frequent method of suicide attempts for which one is hospitalized. “This is very concerning,” said NH’s Public Health Director Dr. José Montero, “it underscores the need for us to join forces with our colleagues in the drug and alcohol field to maximize our resources in an effort to reduce deaths by suicide, particularly of this nature.”
Eighty-seven percent of the hospital stays related to suicidal behavior between 2004 and 2008 were due to poisonings. In another five-year period, 42% of suicide deaths in females were because of poisonings. According to New Hampshire specific call data from the Northern New England Poison Center, antidepressants and benzodiazepines were the top substances used in suspected suicide attempts.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the family medicine cabinet is one of the primary ways youth access prescription drugs for so called recreational use or attempts to harm themselves”, said BDAS Director Joe Harding. “Securing or properly disposing of these drugs is one of the best things that can be done to prevent this from happening. To this end we have been working very closely with our colleagues at the Division of Public Health Service and the Bureau of Behavioral Health to coordinate our prevention strategies, and with Jo Moncher, administrator for military programs, who also coordinates our suicide prevention efforts within the Department and with outside stakeholders.”
The newly legislated prescription drug-monitoring program is an example of a program helping to reduce unnecessary access. Studies show when access to a lethal means is reduced, those at risk for suicide are less likely to seek a substitution or different method.
Everyone can help in suicide prevention. Warning signs include:
- Talking about death or suicide
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Mood changes
Recognize these signs and connect the person to help. If you or someone you know is in crisis or emotional distress, you can call the Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The line is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
For more information on suicide prevention, visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org or the National Alliance for Mentally Ill New Hampshire at www.naminh.org/education/suicide-prevention or the Bureau of Behavioral Health at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/contact.htm.