According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 people die by suicide. It is among the top 10 leading causes of death for most age groups, and is the second leading cause among people ages 10-24 - and these rates are rising every year. Millions of people are touched by suicide each day, whether that be through their own suicidal thoughts, the struggles of friends or family, or the loss of someone close to them.
At HopeLine, one of our biggest goals is to prevent suicide however and whenever we can. With September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we feel strongly about breaking down stigma, starting a conversation, and providing access to much-needed resources for those affected by suicide.
If you're worried about someone you know:
Oftentimes, suicidal ideation is the result of a struggle with mental illness. Of those who die by suicide, more than 90% suffer from a diagnosable and treatable mental disorder. When signs and symptoms of these emotional struggles can be seen and recognized, intervention can begin early, lessening the likelihood for an individual to attempt or die by suicide.
So what are the signs and symptoms of someone considering suicide? They are many and varied, but some things to notice include: expressing a strong desire to die, insomnia, unexpected rage, anger and irritability, withdrawal from friends/family/loved activities, increased alcohol and drug use, giving away belongings, and obtaining means to to attempt suicide.
Previous attempts, as well as a psychiatric diagnosis also increase one's chances of attempting suicide.
If you notice signs or symptoms such as these in a friend or family member, don't hesitate to reach out to them - it's possible no one has had the courage to ask them about what they're feeling and how they're doing, and social support from loved ones can often make a huge impact.
If you're concerned about someones safety, know the resources in your area such as mobile crisis units, as well as your local emergency numbers. If you believe someone may be in serious danger, always call 911 - and you can request a Crisis Intervention Team trained officer. These officers receive special training in how to handle mental health and other crises, and may make the response to a suicide situation smoother.
If you're thinking about suicide:
If you, yourself, are battling with suicidal thoughts - do not be ashamed. These thoughts do not make you weak, or lesser, and you deserve to be treated with care and respect by those around you when you express these thoughts.
Reach out and talk about it! Be honest with a trusted person about what you're feeling and what you're going through. No one deserves to struggle alone.
Never hesitate to reach out to resources like HopeLine, the National Suicide Lifeline, the National Crisis Text Line if you are battling with these thoughts. Trained crisis counselors are ready and waiting to provide you with a safe place to talk and express your feelings without fear of judgment or overreaction.
How you can help:
If you feel moved to help in some way with the cause of suicide prevention, there are lots of ways to get involved!
Talk about it: Talk about it with friends, family, coworkers - anyone who will listen. Being open and talking about the realities of suicide and the lives that it touches raises awareness for an issue that is tough to talk about for many. Share on social media this month using hashtags such as #SuicideAwareness #SuicidePrevention #StopTheStigma #StopSuicide and many others!
Get involved: Get involved with organizations in your area that work toward preventing suicide. Volunteer for a crisis hotline, organize awareness walks, or participate in fundraising events. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts events across the country to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and provide funds for nonprofits that provide crisis intervention services.
Donate: If you don't have the time to get involved and volunteer, nonprofits like HopeLine that provide free crisis intervention and suicide prevention services often depend on support from individuals as well as groups to keep them up and running to provide support to those in need. If you're interested in giving to HopeLine, you can simply give a donation HERE, or you can create a team, start a fundraiser for your birthday/wedding/other event, or even a donation fund in memory or honor of a loved one who has faced a struggle with suicide.
It Takes All Of Us
There are many ways to take part in preventing suicide this September, ranging from reaching out to friends who may be struggling to volunteering your time and resources to donating to help organizations reach more people in need. Find a way to touch others this month - make change, reduce stigma, and save lives. It takes all of us to make a change!
HopeLine (call or text): 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Crisis TextLine: text 741741