The month of September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with September 10th of this year being Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide Awareness Prevention Month and Day are in place to bring more awareness to rates of suicide, rates of suicide attempts, bring support for survivors of suicide and to try breaking the stigma around the topic.
According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP.org), suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US. Suicide is something that can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. While there is research showing a link between suicide and mental health disorders, research has also shown that suicide attempts and completions can still occur in moments of crisis such as financial problems and relationship stressors.
Warning signs that you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide can include:
- Previous suicide attempts
- Using language or statements talking about killing themselves, feeling hopeless, feeling like a burden to others, or that others would be better off without them.
- Increase in behaviors, such as, isolation and use of alcohol or drugs. Or engaging in behaviors like giving away possessions or reaching out to friends and family to say goodbye.
- Stressful life events, like loss of a job, relationship loss, or financial crisis.
- Mental health disorders, such as but not limited to, depression and PTSD.
Creating a positive support system can be crucial to helping you through these times. Finding friends or family members who you can reach out to and discuss your feelings and thoughts with is important. Allowing others to understand where you are and letting them reach out to check on you can create a protective factor in preventing suicide. If you are this support to someone else be sure to be available, actively listen, and refrain from arguing or giving your point of view. Along with having a support system, reaching out for professional help can also further add to your protective factors against suicide. This may be reaching out to your community mental health agency, a private practice, like Middle Path Counseling, or talking to your primary care provider.
Breaking the stigma around suicide can allow individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out for support and earlier intervention. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation know that you are not alone.
- 988 (Suicide and Crisis Lifeline)
- Crisis Text Line 741741
- TrevorLifeLIne (LGBT+) – 1-866-488-7386
- TrevorText – Text START to 678-678
- Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2022, June 14). Suicide statistics. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/