A string of recent suicides at Naperville North High School has suicide prevention on the minds of many in Naperville.
But teens are not the highest risk group, says Kelly Bryant of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. At a higher risk are white men and the elderly.
“The second highest rate of suicide is for white men 55 and older, and the next high-risk group is actually the elderly. And if we think about elderly clients, patients have often lost a spouse. It’s really very difficult for them,” said Bryant.
These misconceptions about who’s at risk and how to help have led Linden Oaks to partner with the Naperville Public Library to host training sessions for the community.
“Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. We don’t see that statistic going down,” said Fran Zucco, clinical leader of the Linden Oaks adolescent unit. “We see that statistic getting higher and higher as the years go by. And that’s why we’re so excited about this training because we feel like it’s what’s going to make the difference.”
Training sessions teach about how to recognize warning signs such as isolation, excessive sleep, irritability and not eating but also teach about protective factors that keep people safe like strong relationships, coping abilities and restricted access to lethal means.
Information on additional trainings is available on the library’s website.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.
Or now you can text “REACH” to 741741 and talk with a trained professional through the National Crisis Text Line.
Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.