If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
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. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic.
Bringing Awareness to a Taboo Topic
Everyone is affected by suicide, not just the victim. Suicide impacts family and friends long after the loss of a loved one. On average, one person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes. Two-thirds of the people who commit suicide suffer from depression.
One way to help prevent suicide is to increase access to treatment for depression. However, identifying depression can be difficult. Not all people who suffer from depression show signs. The first step in identifying someone who is suffering from depression and contemplating suicide is to see how serious the issue is. Talking to the person involved and asking about their thoughts will decrease the trigger of suicidal action. Suggesting a counselor or treatment for depression might also help. Often, people who are depressed need a caring friend. A common fallacy is that people who talk about suicide never act on it. If a friend or loved one is talking about suicide, it’s time to get help for that person.
Alarming Suicide Facts
These are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to take part in promoting Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Please use these facts to encourage discussions with your community through social media or other forms of outreach.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
There is one death by suicide in the US every 11 minutes. (CDC)
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years. (CDC)
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over 8x more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them. (SAVE)
Every day, approximately 130 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. (CDC)
Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. (CDC)
Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become 2.5x more likely to hurt themselves. (SAVE)
Asking Reduces Risk
Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken.