Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together and start a dialogue about mental health conditions and suicide prevention. It’s a time to raise awareness to help ensure that individuals, families, and friends have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and seek help.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
The overall suicide rate (in the U.S.) has increased by 35 percent since 1999 (NAMI).
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there’s no single cause for suicide. Depression, anxiety, and substance problems – especially those that aren’t addressed – are conditions that increase the risk of suicide. Learning more about the risk factors and warning signs can save lives.
Risk factors include:
- Mental health conditions that include depression, substance use problems, anxiety disorders, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia.
- A family history of suicide.
- A history of trauma or abuse.
- Stressful life events such as divorce, financial crisis, other life transitions.
- A recent tragedy or loss.
- A serious or chronic medical illness.
- Prolonged stress, for example from unemployment, bullying, or relationship problems.
There are a number of warning signs that a person may exhibit through what they say, as well as through their behavior and mood. Warning signs include:
- Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live.
- Talking about killing themselves.
- Withdrawing from activities.
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and community.
- Increased alcohol or drug use.
- Aggressive behavior.
- Dramatic mood swings.
- Loss of interest.
- Giving away possessions.
- Saying goodbye to friends and family.
It’s important to know that suicidal thoughts can affect anyone – regardless of age, gender or background – and often indicate more serious issues. Not taking these thoughts seriously can have devastating outcomes.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 (which was the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s dialing code of 800-273-TALK previous to 988) or call 911 immediately.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://afsp.org/risk-factors-protective-factors-and-warning-signs
National Alliance on Mental Illness – https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Risk-of-Suicide and https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/NAMI_Suicide_2020_FINAL.pdf