SafeTALK: Four steps to try to stop suicide

By Jillian Marshall

August 14, 2014 Updated Aug 14, 2014 at 7:52 PM EDT

Delhi, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Delaware County has a higher rate of suicide than both New York State and the national average, according to the state's mental health office. In attempt to reverse that statistic, a county coalition held a suicide prevention program.

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Delaware County Suicide Prevention Coalition held the SafeTALK Suicide Prevention Training Thursday morning.

According to the program, there are four steps to stopping suicide: tell, ask, listen and keep safe, or TALK.

Director of Delaware County Public Safety Bonnie Hamilton said this program will teach people how to be more alert to signs of suicide, how to talk to someone thinking of suicide and how to keep them safe.

"Suicide is an issue in our county and elsewhere, and they would be less apt to miss, or dismiss, someone who is having thoughts of suicide because they now have this built-in awareness," Hamilton said.

The first step is "tell."

"People that have some thoughts of suicide are extending an invitation to you to listen to them, and that when you are talking to someone and you get that intuitive feeling or gut feeling that something is wrong, don't miss the opportunity to talk," Hamilton said.

Sam Catroppa, from the NYS OMH, said it may be a nonverbal attempt to talk, like a change in mood, being withdrawn or not enjoying their hobbies.

The second step is "ask." If you get the gut feeling that something is wrong, ask the person directly.

"The reason it has to be direct is so that everybody is clear on what exactly it is we are talking about," Catroppa said.

The third step is "listen," which is giving the person the opportunity to talk about how they got to the point of thinking about suicide.

The last step is "keep safe," and that means to get the person thinking about suicide in touch with someone that can help them further, like a doctor or law enforcement.

If you have thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255.

For more information on suicide prevention, click here.