According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized and often taboo topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide.
It is important to understand the following definitions.
- Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.
- A suicide attempt is a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.
- Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.
Statistics on Suicide
The data identifies that annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide, by U.S. demographic group:
- 4.8% of all adults
- 11.8% of young adults aged 18-25
- 18.8% of high school students
- 46.8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S. The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
There are many myths that people tend to believe about suicide. For example, suicide is believed to be a topic that “should” not be discussed. In fact, the more it is spoken of, the less stigmatized it becomes. Hence, the goal of suicide prevention month according to NAMI is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
Warning Signs that someone you love might be struggling with suicidal feelings.
There are several warning signs that indicate a potential life threatening concern. The National Institute of Mental Health identifies the following:
- Wanting to die
- Feeling great guilt or shame
- Being a burden to others
- Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
- Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
- Unbearable physical or emotional pain
- Making a plan or researching ways to die
- Withdrawing from friends, giving away things of value, saying goodbye
- Taking dangerous risks
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Eating or sleeping more or less
- Using drugs or alcohol more often
Suicide Crisis Resources
There are crisis resources below if you believe that you or a loved one are in need. You do not have to feel alone.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
- If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.
- Crisis Text Line Text “HELLO” to 741741
- Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. The Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from a secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.
- Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255, PRESS 1
- If you’re a Veteran in crisis or service member in crisis — or you’re concerned about one — there are caring, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Contact 911
- Contact your local police department
- Contact the nearest hospital/crisis center
If you are unsure about taking the next step, you have come to the right place in receiving extra support. A licensed therapist or counselor can help you navigate through this time.
Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her one-eyed rescue dog, Toby, and new puppy, Tucker. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist.
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NEXT STEPS & RESOURCES
- Are you ready to take your first step? Reach out to us.
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- Interested in online counseling? Learn more.
- American Association of Suicidology
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- The Trevor Support Center, a place where LGBTQ youth and their allies can find answers to frequently asked questions, and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and more!