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September 9, 2022

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY: CREATING HOPE THROUGH ACTION

Did you know that for every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide? To create awareness about suicide warning signs and ways to prevent suicide, the World Health Organization has designated September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day.

Although World Suicide Prevention Day is observed in more than 60 countries, it is up to us to spread the word at a local level in our communities.  Unfortunately, suicide falls among the top 10 reasons for mortality in San Antonio. For this reason, it is important that we openly observe this day, not only to discuss preventative measures but to learn about resources available to us here in our city.

“Suicide and self-harm are among the most challenging healthcare crises around the world and here in San Antonio. It’s critical to be aware of the warning signs and of the resources available to help those most at risk,” said Victor Gonzalez, MD, Psychiatrist at Texas Vista Medical Center.

The behaviors listed below may be some of the warning signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

  • Talking about:
    • Wanting to die
    • Great guilt or shame
    • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling:
    • Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live or no purpose in life
    • Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
    • Unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Experiencing:
    • Unbearable stress
    • Recent traumatic event such as death of a loved one, divorce, physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional abuse, neglect, etc.
  • Changing behavior, such as:
    • Planning or researching ways to die
    • Withdrawing from friends and/ or family, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will
    • Taking dangerous risks such as reckless driving
    • Displaying extreme mood swings
    • Eating or sleeping more or less
    • Using drugs or alcohol more often

In addition to being aware of the warning signs, it’s important to know the resources available. 

If you or a loved one are contemplating suicide:

  • Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

If you are in Bexar County and are experiencing a mental health crisis:

  • Go to your nearest Emergency Department or Behavioral Health Hospital
  • Go to the Crisis Center located at 601 N. Frio
  • You can also call 911 and request the Mental Health Unit

If you see someone in need of psychiatric services:

  • If they are an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others, call 911 and request an emergency detention.
  • If the person you believe needs psychiatric services and you believe them to be a danger to themselves, but are unwilling to seek services, you may also file a Mental Health Warrant through the Bexar County Mental Health Court at 300 Dolorosa Suite B032 (Phone: 210-335-6638).

“When people feel like they have no purpose, they’re more likely to turn to substances like drugs and alcohol,” Krystal Ayala, RN, Associate Director of Nursing, Behavioral Health. “They’re also more likely to contemplate ending their lives and may even attempt suicide. If someone is at risk, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call the 24-Hour Crisis & Substance Use Helpline at 800-316-9241 or 210-223-SAFE (7233).

You may also call OSAR at 210-261-3076. OSAR (Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral) is another resource that helps individuals seeking substance use treatment and recovery services in communities across Bexar County. 210-261-3076

About Texas Vista Medical Center  
Texas Vista Medical Center is a 327-bed acute care hospital with specialties in Cardiology, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation, Women’s Health, Emergency Services, Physical Therapy, Wound Care, and Psychiatric Services. Its medical staff includes skilled, board-certified physicians representing a wide range of medical specialties. Texas Vista Medical Center is part of Steward Health Care, a physician-led health care services organization committed to providing the highest quality of patient care.  

About Steward Health Care System

Nearly a decade ago, Steward Health Care System emerged as a different kind of health care company designed to usher in a new era of wellness. One that provides our patients better, more proactive care at a sustainable cost, our providers unrivaled coordination of care, and our communities greater prosperity and stability.

As the country’s largest physician-led, tax paying, integrated health care system, our doctors can be certain that we share their interests and those of their patients. Together we are on a mission to revolutionize the way health care is delivered - creating healthier lives, thriving communities and a better world.

Steward is among the nation’s largest and most successful accountable care organizations (ACO), with more than 5,500 providers and 43,000 health care professionals who care for 12.3 million patients a year through a closely integrated network of hospitals, multispecialty medical groups, urgent care centers, skilled nursing facilities and behavioral health centers. 

Based in Dallas, Steward currently operates 39 hospitals across Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.