National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: How You Can Help
September’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month initiative was created with the intent of sharing resources and promoting knowledge of the issue of suicide worldwide. We often see patients struggling with suicidal thoughts due to chronic illnesses, the loss of a family member, or underlying mental illnesses. However, with talk therapy, the correct treatment, and a support system, a life can be saved. Here’s what you should know.
According to National Alliance on Mental Illness statistics, suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for people aged ten to twenty-four, and the tenth leading cause of death overall. An individual commits suicide every 12.8 minutes, with an every 31 seconds. Each suicide is said to immediately at least 6 other individuals, leaving an estimated 4.95 million survivors of suicide in the United States as of 2013.
So how can you help?
1. Learn to identify risks & warning signs.
Learning to identify risks of depression and warning signs of suicidal behavior may help prevent an attempt. Certain psychological conditions are more likely to lead to dangerous behaviors, and may escalate to suicide attempts if untreated. After age 15, depression is twice as common in females than in males, and as many of 70% of children with depression will have a relapse of the condition by adulthood. In particular, events may be preceded by stressful life events, family discord, or the death of a loved one.
2. Be prepared in case of a crisis
In the event of an emergency, knowing what to do is the best way you can help a loved one who is hurting. If you, or someone you know, has actively harmed him or herself or tells you of suicidal thoughts, call 911 immediately. If your feelings are strong, but you feel safe from acting on them, call the National Suicide Hotline or the NAMI HelpLine to speak with a crisis counselor. There is no shame in asking for help, or in having feelings that are overwhelming. Professionals are trained to help you or your loved ones deal with those emotions, and getting help is the best thing to do.
3. Get involved with an organization to raise awareness
Getting involved with an organization to help raise awareness for this cause is a great use of your time, and can also make an impact on those who may need your support. Just recently, members of the Orlando Pride partnered with To Write Love on Her Arms to emphasize the importance of this month. Their social media campaign garnered support nationwide and raised awareness for suicide prevention. You can do the same by getting involved with an organization near you.
September’s initiative should not stop on the last day of the calendar month. Just one person can have a big impact, so I encourage everyone to learn more about the cause, and get involved.
Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital Behavioral Therapy
National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)