September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

I usually try to be humorous or flippant in this newsletter, but September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I have family members who attempted suicide.  There hasn’t been an attempt for decades, but I still remember those helpless, hopeless feelings and the utter despair I felt.

Last September, I wrote about the increase in suicide among construction workers. If you missed it, you can find it here.  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Website has some sobering 2020 statistics on suicide:

  • 78% of all people who die by suicide are MALE
  • Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
  • Since 1999, the suicide rate has increased 35%
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages of 15-24
  • Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for people ages of 35 and 44.
  • There were nearly two times as many suicides (45,979) in the United States as there were homicides (24,576).
  • While nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms.
  • In 2021, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline had 3.6 million calls.

Warning signs and risk factors along with crisis support information on suicide can be found on the NAMI website.

Thoughts of giving up and suicide can be frightening.  Not taking these kinds of thoughts seriously can have devastating outcomes.

  • If you start thinking about suicide, seek help.  Call or text a crisis line or a trusted friend.
  • Make an appointment with a health care professional to talk about what you are thinking or how you are feeling.
  • Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other – they can be treated, and they can improve over time.

Crisis Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or the new “988” number.

A new Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline is now available nationwide.

Calling or texting 988 will connect you directly with a trained, compassionate counselor who will listen, provide support, and connect you to the appropriate resources. This service is free, confidential, and available 24 hours/7 days a week. This does not replace the 800 number, just another way to get help.

Pressing “1” after dialing 988 will connect callers directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline.

Summary

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Let’s use this September’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, let’s provide hope and vital information to people affected by suicide.

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1 Comment

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