Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people and the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recognizes September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day. Throughout the month, people are encouraged to raise awareness about this often stigmatized topic, and connect individuals who may be affected to resources that can help.
Warning signs may include reckless and aggressive behavior, social withdrawal from friends and family, dramatic mood swings, and threats or comments about suicidal behavior. Risk factors include a family history of suicide, substance abuse, serious/chronic mental illness, or a history of trauma or abuse. If you or someone you know displays these symptoms, notify a close friend or family member of the struggling individual. Encourage them to reach out to a trusted mental health professional that can assess the risk and offer guidance and support.
There are many ways you can get involved to raise awareness. Support an organization whose main priority is to raise awareness and prevent suicide, such as The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Every year they host “Out of the Darkness” walks around the nation, where people can walk together to raise awareness and money for research and educational programs. There are many ways to support those affected by suicide, de-stigmatize mental illness, and raise awareness so let the month of September be your starting point in this mission.
Suicide Support & Prevention Resources
- National Suicide Hotline & National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – This line is for someone in a crisis or experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Help line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) – This line is for someone looking for information, referrals, or support.
Call 911 in an Emergency
If you know someone who is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Suicide is Preventable. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource