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Our Service Begins With You

At MedFlight911, we offer this promise to each and every one of our valued clients: "Our Service Begins with You."

That means from the moment you call our office we will:

  • Go above and beyond to help and serve you.
  • Make the process simple, easy and worry-free.
  • Take care of every detail so you don't have to.
  • Act as your partner and advocate throughout the process.
  • Treat your patient / loved one like family.
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March 22, 2012

Preventing Suicide: Information for Caregivers from MedFlight911 Air Ambulance

At MedFlight911, we provide assistance to caregivers and patients when they need air ambulance services. Many of our patients will require convalescent or hospice care and many have caregivers tending to their needs. As a result, we feel very strongly about helping caregivers with their needs. In previous blogs, we have discussed caregiver stress, depression, and burnout. Today, we will be discussing suicide.

Caregiving does not cause suicide, nor does it directly lead to it. However, caregivers are at increased risk for depression and burnout which can increase their risk factors for suicide. In fact, risk factors for caregiver depression and burnout, such as social isolation and serious physical and mental illness, are the same risk factors as for suicide.

More common than you think

Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death for all Americans and the 13th leading cause of death worldwide. On average, one suicide occurs every 16 minutes. According to Suicide.org, there are 750,000 suicide attempts and 33,000 suicide deaths each year.

Warning signs

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
  • Violent actions or rebellious behavior
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Marked personality change
  • Persistent boredom or difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities
  • Giving away favorite possessions, jewelry, pets, or money

What to do if you think a loved one is suicidal

Be direct. Ask the person directly if he or she is having suicidal thoughts, has a plan and has access to means. Asking someone if they have considered suicide will not put ideas into their head. Rather it will reduce their anxiety and give them an outlet. It will also give you information that indicates how strongly they have considered suicide.

Listen. Allow them to express their feelings without judgment. Accept their feelings. Their feelings are neither good nor bad, just feelings. Do not act shocked by their thoughts, this will only create emotional distance

Look for red flags for suicidal behavior indicated by the phrase “IS PATH WARM?”

  • Ideation – Threatened or communicated?
  • Substance Abuse – Excessive or increased?
  • Purposeless – No reason for living?
  • Anxiety – Agitation/insomnia?
  • Trapped – Feeling there is no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawing – From friends, family and society
  • Anger – Uncontrolled, rage, or seeking revenge
  • Recklessness – Risky acts, unthinking
  • Mood Changes

Take action. If you think the person might harm themselves, do not leave them alone. Remove any pills or guns. Recognize that you cannot single-handedly keep someone alive. Say, “I’m going to get you some help.” Then seek assistance from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

What to do if you are thinking about suicide

Get help! Remember that suicide is final – once it’s done, there is no changing your mind. If you are feeling suicidal, you are in more pain than you know how to handle. There are ways to reduce the pain and better methods of dealing with it. You can learn both. Let someone help you.

For assistance, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.272.TALK (8255). To find a crisis center nearby you, click here.


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