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National Suicide Prevention Week and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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By Cara Beth Lewis 

September is a time of suicide awareness and prevention. Sunday, September 5th, is the first day of National Suicide Prevention Week, and the entire month of September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

This month is a time to learn about what leads a person to suicide, how you can help prevent it, and share available resources with those who are struggling. 

Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are having suicidal thoughts if you think it is a possibility. Many people believe that asking someone will put ideas in their head and do more harm than good. However, research has proven that this is not true. 

No matter the age, gender, or background, a person can be affected by suicidal thoughts. In addition to spreading awareness of this topic, Suicide Prevention Week and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month are times to spread hope, resources, and advocacy for those who are struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. 

According to the Bladen County Register of Deeds, in 2020, there were four suicides in Bladen County. 

Now that you know the goals of Suicide Prevention Week and Month, you may wonder how to identify the signs of someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts. www.mentalhealth.gov shared this information: 

Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. On average, 112 Americans die by suicide each day. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds, and more than 9.4 million adults in the United States had serious thoughts of suicide within the past 12 months. But suicide is preventable, so it’s important to know what to do. For more information, go to www.sprc.org.

Warning Signs of Suicide

If someone you know is showing one or more of the following behaviors, he or she may be thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Get help immediately.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

According to America’s Health Rankings, populations with disproportionately high suicide rates include:

 

  • Males have a suicide rate 3.7 times higher compared with females. 
  • American Indian/Alaska Native individuals have the highest suicide rates in the nation, followed by non-Hispanic white individuals. Suicide rates among Hispanic, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander individuals are significantly lower than rates among American Indian/Alaska Native and white individuals.
  • Older adults have a higher suicide rate when compared with younger adults and adolescents. By age and gender, the highest suicide rate is among males ages 65 and older, followed by males ages 45 to 54. Among females, those ages 45-54 have the highest rate, followed by those ages 55-64.
  • Suicide rates among veterans were 1.5 times greater than non-veterans after adjusting for age and gender in 2016.
  • Those living in rural areas compared with those living in urban areas.
  • LGBTQ adults and youth compared with heterosexual adults and youth.

Everyone is different and therefore may exhibit different signs, or even no signs at all. It is important to check on your loved ones because you never know what a person is going through internally. 

Get Help

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you think someone is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone—stay there and call 911.

For more mental health resources, click here: talk.