The month of September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This time gives mental health advocates, prevention organizations, and survivors an opportunity to share. People share their survival stories, ones that have been affected by suicide, resources, and awareness. It is crucial that we take the time to learn about the facts of suicide, how to spot and recognize the warning signs, and knowing that you are not alone.
Suicide in America
Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and background, just like mental illness. When it comes to gender, the suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher in comparison to females. For men, the suicide rate was highest for those aged 75 and older. For women, the suicide rate was highest for those aged 45-64. Suicide rates by race were highest for American Indian, Non-Hispanic males and females. It is followed by White, Non-Hispanic males and females. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among U.S. adults are just as serious. Among adults across all age groups, the prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among young adults aged 18-25. The prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among adults age 18 and older and those who reported having multiple races. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. For individuals between the ages of 10 to 34, it is the second leading cause of death.
With the surprising statistics, it is very important for the community to be educated about the warning signs. In critical situations, having the knowledge to intervene when someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The causes for suicide vary from person to person. It could be health issues, mental health issues, or stressors that they are experiencing. When mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, are left untreated, it can increase the risk. It is important to pay attention to shifts in behavior. This could include things like:
- Decrease in once important activities
- Isolating from friends and family
- Increase use in drugs or alcohol
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Indicating increased aggression
It is also important to pay attention to thoughts that they may express that can be a way that shows they are feeling suicidal. This could include things like:
- Talking about physically or emotionally in pain
- Joking or being serious about killing themselves
- Stating they feel like a burden to the people they are around
- Expressing they have no reason to live
While there is a wide variety of how people behave and act, when it is something out of the norm for the ones you care about, you will be able to help.
You are not alone
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts about suicide, there is hope. You are not alone. There are numerous resources to help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They are available to talk 24 hours, 7 days a week, available to anyone, and all calls are confidential. Or contact the Crisis Text Line by testing TALK to 741741. If you are a veteran, call 1-800-273- TALK (8255) and press 1.
Carpenter, D., Lavigne, L., Colmenares, E., Falbo, K., & Mosley, S. (2019). “Community pharmacy staff interactions with patients who have risk factors or warning signs of sucide.” Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 349-359.
Ramchand, R., Franklin, E., Thornton, E., Deland, S., & Rouse, J. (2017). “Opportunities to intervene? ‘Warning signs’ for suicide int he days before dying.” Death Studies, 41(6), 368-375.