GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) —Priority Health supports and cares about the community, especially when facing hardships.  September is an important month when it comes to bringing awareness to some tough health issues.  September is suicide prevention month and a time where awareness is brought to infant mortality.  While these issues are hard and tough topics to deal with, Priority Health says there are preventative measures and signs we can look for to help prevent both suicides and infant mortality. 

Priority Health is focused on making sure every family can have their baby prosper through the critical first year of their development.  It is important to get the conversation started now because there are simple prevention measures that lower the risk of infant mortality.  Those include making sure your baby has a safe sleep environment, if your baby needs care getting them to the doctor as early as possible.  Priority Health wants to be a good community member by letting mothers know that they offer mental health support as well as many different tools to help support mothers during an extremely difficult time.   They also offer a mom’s program where volunteers provide support for a new mother through the first year of their babies’ development. 

September is also suicide prevention month.  Suicide is a tough topic to talk about and often is associated with the stigma of mental health problems.  Dr. Rzeszutko says we should flip the narrative when it comes to suicide and focus on brain health.  He says that you go to the doctor to check out other parts of your body when something is wrong, and your brain should be no different.  Dr. Rzeszutko says there are warning signs to look out for.   If you notice general changes in someone’s personality or if they seem to be acting out of characteristic.  That may be increasing in risk taking behaviors, substance abuse or use, and any comments made about harming themselves or others.  

It is important that if you notice these signs in your child or loved one that you engage in a serious conversation with them, listening and taking their comments seriously.  Priority Health offers many tools to help those struggling through dark times.  They offer a free 24-hour confidential helpline that connects you with a trained behavioral expert that will guide you with advice.  If you would rather text than talk, you can text 988 for advice from trained personnel.    Suicide is a hard topic to talk about, but we do not need to hide it, we need to talk more about it.  Priority Health offers several resources to help start those conversations.    

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