On ABC's "The Bachelorette" Tuesday night, an important conversation aired regarding suicide and mental health.
It is a topic that affects more people than you may imagine, and it's becoming a crisis in our state.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama had a higher rate of suicides than homicides in 2019. Suicide rates for Alabama have been consistently higher than U.S. rates.
Help is out there. Health experts want to make sure everyone knows the signs to look for if someone you love is in trouble. Josaylon Henry, chief clinical officer at Wellstone Behavioral Health, said there are five signs in particular to be aware of.
The first is if someone is starting to become self-isolated, or "withdrawing from other people," Henry said.
Second, look to see if there are sudden changes in their interests.
"They may not be interested in the activities they once were interested in," Henry said.
Is your loved one suddenly giving up on a passion of theirs? Henry said it is important to look at any drastic changes in the way they go about their everyday life. Which brings us to the third sign: Are their eating or sleeping patterns different?
The fourth sign is to pay attention to how long they are acting different.
"They may just be down and out for longer periods of time than what's normal to them," Henry said.
Lastly, are you noticing an abundance of stress or anxiety in your loved one? Henry said the pandemic has caused more people to experience these symptoms.
"They are not able to maybe meet financial obligations, maybe not socializing because of the pandemic the way that they once were," Henry said. "They ... may be having to switch their schedules because of their kids and the virtual learning they were going through."
Not everyone's mental health will look the same, but it is important to be honest with those you care about if you are noticing these changes, Henry said. If the issues have been going on for several weeks without changes for the better, then it's more than likely time to reach out for professional help, according to Henry.
There is hope anyone can get better. Henry has been in this field for more than 20 years. She said she continues to do what she does because of all the people she has witnessed find happiness and peace through proper care.
"I'm in this field to see the progress that I know individuals will and can make if they just reach out and get the help that is needed," Henry said.
If you are noticing these changes in yourself, talk to someone. There is always someone willing to listen and address those feelings.
5 Signs To Look Out For:
2. Loss of interests
3. Changes in eating or sleeping pattern
4. Feeling down or out of it for an extended period of time
5. Abundance of stress or anxiety
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.