According to the CDC and NIMH, nearly 46,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2020 alone.
The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999. Join the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) to lower the stigma around suicide to prevent cases from rising.
How many people does suicide affect?
Suicide not only affects those who die from it, but also everyone in that person’s life. In many cases, it is seen as preventable if underlying mental health conditions are addressed earlier.
46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition, however, research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. By ending the stigma and spreading awareness around this subject, more people may seek a diagnosis and get help earlier, leading to fewer mental health cases ending in suicide. With this awareness month, NAMI’s goal is that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and seek help.
This year, a new resource is available for prevention. The number 988 is now available nationwide as the new number to contact for mental health, substance use, and suicide crises. This new number will allow people to quickly connect with support during a crisis, 24/7, no matter where they live.
Could you keep a loved one from suicide?
One part of prevention is intervention. If someone you love is exhibiting the below behaviors, gently check in on them. If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess. Below are some risk factors and signs of suicide.
Drugs and alcohol
If your loved one already struggles with addiction, that is a risk factor. If they normally consume a small amount of alcohol and other drugs, and they increase their drug use, this is a risk factor.
Managing their possessions
There are two behaviors to look for here: gathering possible tools to complete suicide or giving away possessions in preparation. If you’re concerned about a loved one and they start collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon, stay alert.
Changes in mood and behavior that could be signs of suicidal ideation include aggressive behavior, withdrawal from friends, family, and community, dramatic mood swings, and impulsive or reckless behavior.
Preparing to leave
If a loved one of yours who struggles with mental illness appears to be tying up loose ends like debt, getting their affairs in order, or even saying goodbye to friends and family, take that as a sign.
How to deal with loved ones in a mental health crisis
What should you do when a mental health crisis strikes? Dr. Ken Duckworth of the National Alliance on Mental Illness reveals how understanding the patterns of one’s illness and creating an action plan can help individuals and families manage — and even prevent — a crisis.