Suicide Prevention Month: Why It’s Important and How You Can Help
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is a taboo topic that must be recognized and better understood within the United States.
- With an increased rate of approximately 7.6% since 2020, an estimated 49,449 deaths were caused by suicide in the United States in 2022.
- In 2021 there were an estimated 1.7 million suicide attempts
- Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- On average there are 142 suicides per day.
With 94% of the surveyed U.S. population believing that suicide is preventable, it is heartbreaking to know so many people still choose to end their own life each and every day. As someone that has lost a loved one to suicide, has talked friends down from suicide, and who has experienced their own suicidal ideations at one point in their life, I am highly passionate about this matter.
Many suicides can be prevented by providing resources and support for those in need. If you believe someone you know is contemplating suicide, following these steps can help according to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Asking and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.
Help keep them safe:
Reducing a suicidal person’s access to lethal means is an important part of suicide prevention.
Increasing someone’s connectedness to others and limiting their isolation has shown to be a protective factor against suicide.
Help them connect:
Individuals that called the 988 Lifeline were significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful by the end of calls.
After you’ve connected a person experiencing thoughts of suicide with the immediate support systems that they need, following-up with them to see how they’re doing can help increase their feelings of connectedness and support. There’s evidence that even a simple form of reaching out can potentially reduce that person’s risk for suicide.