September is Suicide Prevention
Awareness Month

Suicide is one of the top ten causes of death in the US. For 10-24-year-olds, suicide is the second leading cause of death. More concerning is suicide rates have increased more than 24% over the past fifteen years.

Like all mental health issues, anyone can struggle with suicidal thoughts no matter where they live, how much they earn, or what their age, gender, ethnicity, or religion is. According to, at least 90% of suicides are a result of untreated mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. This is just another argument for making mental health a part of our everyday preventive and primary care.

Last year…

More than 42,000 people died by suicide in the US

More than 800,000 people died by suicide worldwide

Nearly 20 million more attempted suicide

Risk of Suicide

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and are therefore considered a psychiatric emergency. Someone experiencing these thoughts should seek immediate assistance from a health or mental health care provider. Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.

Although reducing stigma about mental health treatment and educating people about suicide is a year-long responsibility, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a dedicated time to share information, resources, and stories. It is a time to remember those who lost their lives to suicide and a time to support the surviving friends and families of those we’ve lost. And it is a time to lead those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts to get the care they need.

Regardless of whether you know someone currently living with suicidal thoughts or not, every one of us should know how to recognize signs and prevent suicide. Start by learning the tips provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Know the Warning Signs

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here,” but can become more dangerous
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family, and the community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, writing, or thinking about death
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Is There Imminent Danger?

Any person exhibiting these behaviors should get care immediately:

  • Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm
  • Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal, or borrow the tools needed, such as a firearm or prescription medication

Preventing Suicide

It can be frightening and intimidating when a loved one shows signs of suicidal thoughts. But not acting can have a devastating outcome. There are a few ways to approach this situation.

  • Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills
  • Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” rather than, “Would you rather I call your psychiatrist, your therapist or your case manager?”
  • Talk openly and honestly about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
  • If there are multiple people, have one person speak at a time
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
  • If your loved one asks for something, provide it, as long as the request is safe and reasonable
  • If you are nervous, try not to fidget or pace
  • If your loved one is having hallucinations or delusions, be gentle and sympathetic, and do not argue about whether the delusions or hallucinations are real

If you or someone you know is in an emergency,

  • Call Partners at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673),
  • Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Text HOME to 741741 (The Crisis Text Line)
  • Call 911 immediately If you think someone will hurt themselves or someone else

If you are not sure if you or someone else may be at risk, complete an online screening or call Partners’ Access to Care Call Center anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

A Known, Safe Place to Receive Whole-Person Care

Last Wednesday, Impact Health of Iredell opened its doors to the Iredell County community. The facility will serve as a known, safe place for citizens to receive same day access and same day engagement for physical health, behavioral health, and social issues.

“Toothaches and headaches, financial stress, depression – things like these keep us from being our best,” said Duane Gaskins, Director of Impact Health of Iredell. “We need to help make lives better no matter what the need.”

The new facility approaches an individual’s care using Partners’ Whole Person Integrated Care model. When someone comes to Impact Health of Iredell for help, providers will address the person’s primary care, behavioral health, and social determinants such as emotional, financial, spiritual, occupational wellness.

Impact Health of Iredell is located at 518 Signal Hill Drive Extension, Statesville. It is open Monday thru Friday, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Click here for more information, or call 1-704-873-1114.

Learn more about Whole Person Integrated Care and Find a walk-in center in your county.

Member Navigator

How do I get services?

Partners Behavioral Health Management is available toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673). This number gives you access to a licensed clinician, has no cost, and is confidential.

The staff who answer in the Access to Care Call Center are able to help you:

  • Enroll in the mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder service system
  • Complete a brief telephone screening to determine how quickly you need to have an appointment
  • Schedule an appointment for an assessment with a network provider
  • Provide information on community resources
  • Provide limited crisis intervention by telephone
  • Arrange for face-to-face crisis intervention services

The Access to Care staff connects you with the provider of your choice who can provide the right help, and we will schedule your first appointment.

You should call the Access to Care Call Center when you:

  • Want information on the services provided in your area
  • Want more information on mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use services
  • Worry about an emotional or behavioral problem
  • Worry about a drug or alcohol problem
  • Need to connect with a provider
  • Are having trouble finding a provider to meet your needs or are unhappy with your services
  • Feel afraid of thoughts, mood, or emotions
  • Feel depressed or anxious
  • Are looking for support for your child, friend, caregiver or relative
  • Have someone suggesting that you get help

In the Community 

Yokefellow Helping Center

Yokefellow Ministry of Greater Statesville offers the Iredell community a number of services to keep you and your family housed, clothed, fed, and healthy. Assistance includes a food pantry, emergency clothing, basic household items, emergency financial assistance, help applying for food and nutrition services, and baby supplies. The Helping Center is located at 1380 Shelton Avenue, Statesville. For more information, visit their website or call 704-872-7677.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family Class

 This is a free course for families, partners, and friends of individuals with mental illness. Course leaders will provide information on various aspects of mental illness and the emotional responses families have in dealing with this illness. The course begins Monday, September 11, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and runs weekly for 12 consecutive weeks. Classes are held in the Youth Service Community Room on the lower level of the Mooresville Library at 304 South Main Street, Mooresville. Register for the class by contacting or  or calling Duane Carpenter at (704)236-2264.  Class size is limited.

Connect Catawba Resource Forum

Please join the first quarterly resource forum on Tuesday, September 12, from 8-10 a.m., at Newton Recreation Center, 23 South Brady Avenue, Newton (enter at back of building, lower level). Catawba County Resource Forums are a chance for professionals and community members to share and learn about the many services available in our community. There will be time for networking, refreshments, learning and sharing. Please RSVP online by Friday, September 8.

ART Through the Eyes of ME

You are invited to attend a powerful evening of artistic expression by teenagers using photography to express thoughts and feelings that cannot be expressed using words alone. The event is Tuesday, September 12, from 5:30-7 p.m. at ARTS ON MAIN, 212 W. Main Avenue Gastonia. Each canvassed photograph exploring the world through the unparalleled lens of youth expression will be auctioned off to members of the community. Proceeds will benefit the artists and a local charity. The showcase will feature a live vocalist and pianist. Light refreshments provided.

Blue Sky Jamboree

LIFESPAN is hosting an art festival on Saturday, September 23, from 4:30-7:30 p.m., at 143 Iredell Avenue, Troutman. The event features fine arts and crafts, food, live music, and fun activities. For more information, contact Alisha Cordle at or 704-873-5464 ext. 4405.

2nd Annual Burke Rally for Recovery

September is National Recovery Month! Join the rally to celebrate and spread the message that people do achieve sustained recovery from mental health concerns, alcohol, drugs, and other life challenges. On Saturday, September 16, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Morganton Courthouse Square, bring your friends and family to hear presentations, see the Wall of Recovery, listen to live music, enjoy free food, and take part in games and activities. For more information, contact Joe Marks at or 828-433-1221.

Partners Health Summit: Teens and Toxic Times


October 13, 2017 – 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hickory Metro Convention Center
1960 13th Avenue Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602


This one-day educational conference is especially for professionals who work with troubled teens. All of the keynote presentations and breakout sessions will focus on interventions, resources, and solutions to help professionals work with children, adolescents, and teenagers dealing with mental illness, substance use disorders, and other behavioral health issues.

Visit Partners Training Academy for more information about this upcoming summit.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 4
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