Part II: May is Mental Health Awareness month
Suicide Prevention and Overdose Deaths
Due to May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we are working hard to bring awareness to the diseases that often go unmentioned in our society. Last week we reviewed that suicide is a major preventable health problem. More people die each year by suicide than by homicide throughout our nation. Suicide doesn't discriminate. It affects our neighbors, family, and friends. Recognizing warning signs is perhaps one of the most preventable ways that we can stop suicide. What are signs to look for? Someone who has been incarcerated, going through a troubling time, talking about having no reason to live, looking for a way to kill themselves, talking about being a burden, sleeping too little or too much, reckless behavior, acting anxious or agitated. What can you do in your home? Look around. Do you have weapons? Are the weapons secured or locked? Do you store ammunition? If you have concerns about a loved one, remove your weapons from your home.
Another source of lethality for those contemplating suicide and concern for those with addiction problems is our medicine cabinets. Overdose deaths are also plaguing our communities. If you look around, it would be unlikely that you would find someone whose life has not been personally touched by addiction. Prescription pain pill addiction is similar to suicide in it can be present in anyone. Unintentional prescription pain medication overdoses killed more Utahns than automobile accidents as reported by useonlyasdirected.org. These deaths could have been prevented by simply using medications exactly as prescribed, including only taking doses that are recommended, and only taking medications prescribed to you. As a community member, parent, and sibling it is time to prevent these deaths also. We need to encourage people to properly use medications and to avoid alcohol and drugs when taking medications. Let's take a minute and think about where you keep your medications. Are they accessible to kids? They should be locked or secured. How do you dispose of unused medications? Proper disposal of medications is important. Emery County Sheriff's Office (381-2404) will assist you in disposing of your medications as needed, with no questions asked. Other options include taking your medications out of their original containers; remove any unwanted or unused medications from the original container. Useasdirected.org instructs you to crush and mix all unused drugs with undesirable substances such as wet coffee grounds, unused cat litter, spoiled food, flour mixed with salt and water to make a paste, put it in a plastic bag and seal it and dispose of it. Throw it in the trash container on the same day that the trash is collected. This prevents accidental overdoses by children or pets.
In conclusion, our community needs to band together and avoid unnecessary and early deaths in our community, and we can do this through vocalizing our awareness and concerns for others and managing our medications appropriately. For questions and information, please call, Four Corners Mental Health 381-2432.
For proper disposal of medications please contact the Emery County Sheriff's office at 381-2404.