September is a National Suicide Prevention Month!

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According to the American Association of Suicidology, there are an average of 123 suicides each day in this country. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24.

Why is this month so important?

It is important because we need to decrease suicide numbers. We can do this with the following:

Awareness. Suicide prevention organizations aim to decrease suicides by 20 percent over the next couple of years. In order to do this, they’re making a conscious effort to talk about suicide — its warning signs, how to prevent it, how to discuss it, etc. – whether it is in school, at the workplace, and in politics.

Dialogue. There’s a stigma connected to suicide. Too often it’s not talked about — and those who suffer from it feel they can’t discuss it. Suicide Prevention Month helps to destigmatize this mental illness and promote conversation.

Change. Thanks to efforts of suicide prevention organizations, the approach to suicide is beginning to change. For example, schools and workplaces are implementing new programs and even pop culture is acknowledging it.

Normalizing mental illness is a huge step toward the goal of suicide reduction.

Tips on helping someone in crisis.

  1. Ask direct questions. Even though it’s hard, ask the person directly if they’re thinking about suicide.
  2. Listen to their answers. People with suicidal thoughts often feel alone, so be sure to let them know that you care deeply about them and what they have to say.
  3. Do a safety check. If you’re concerned for their well-being, try removing anything they could use to harm themselves, such as alcohol, drugs, medications, weapons, and even access to a car.
  4. Don’t keep this a secret. Let them know you’ll help come up with a plan that involves telling a professional who can utilize the many services and resources available to help.
  5. Ensure they seek professional help. It’s important to suggest they seek additional help from other people, such as a doctor, counselor, psychologist or social worker.

 Take a few moments this month –or always – to be aware of those who struggle. Remembering these tips might help you save a life.

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.

Sources: Devereux.com, Nami.org, Suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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