According to the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds someone takes their own life. That’s about 800,000 deaths per year worldwide from suicide, leaving behind family members and friends to navigate this tragedy. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.
Sadly, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America for all ages. It’s the second leading cause of death for ages 25-34 and the third leading for ages 15-24. In order to create awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide, the entire month of September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
Warning Signs – Suicide does not have one single cause. Certain factors like substance abuse and untreated depression can lead to higher risk of suicide. In addition, the emotional and psychological impacts of the current health pandemic can also lead to feelings of hopelessness and thoughts about suicide. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following warning signs, it’s time to seek help: Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose, being trapped or being a burden to others, increasing use of drugs or alcohol, displaying extreme mood swings, showing rage or seeking revenge, withdrawing from others or feeling isolated, acting anxious, agitated or reckless, talking about wanting to or ways to die.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Suicidal behavior is universal. It knows no boundaries and can affect anyone. Preventing suicide is not always possible, but you can be a key player in helping with prevention! You can make a difference as a parent, as a child, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbor. You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your family or in your community.
Suicide is often a stigmatized and highly taboo topic. But if we all take the time this month to raise awareness of this crisis and reach out to those affected by suicide, it will shed light on this issue and help to ensure that individuals, family and friends have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.