Your Health: Talking to patients at every visit is crucial

They're sobering statistics, both nationwide and here in Montana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports just over 47-thousand people died by suicide in 2017. 

That's about 14 out of 100-thousand people. 

In Montana that number is nearly 30 of 100-thousand.

In Wyoming it's just over 27 out of 100-thousand.

Montana Ranks number one in the nation for number of deaths by suicide. 

According to the CDC almost half of the people who die by suicide visit their primary care provider within a month of their death. 

With 20 percent of those visiting their primary care provider within 24 hours of their death. 

Dr. Joe Pummer with Riverstone Health says it's important to ask patients directly about depression and other mood disorders at every visit because it affects everyday life. 

Dr. Plummer says, "If you're depressed and you have a hard time getting out of bed you're not going to be able to perform at your job. You're going to have a harder time taking care of your kids. And then, you know, that can obviously snowball into more serious things like suicide."

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services recommends if you talk to someone who is suicidal, do voice your concern.

Ask if they are suicidal.

Ask if they have a plan. 

Tell someone else, and remove access to lethal means.

Don't leave them alone or tell them they shouldn't feel that way. Don't act shocked or argue or debate. 

If you are feeling depressed or suicidal call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text MT to 741741.

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