TW: This post is about suicide.
As I write this blog, I write about Suicide Prevention Month every September. Since this is a mental health blog, I feel it is important to understand the link between mental health and suicide prevention. My own research and experience has shown me how to speak up and talk about suicide prevention. One of those ways is through education and awareness. Suicide is a public health issue and we need to understand the importance of suicide prevention in the fight against it.
Suicide Prevention Month takes place in the US in September and is a national month of suicide awareness and advocacy. I didn’t say suicide was a public health problem because it is my opinion – it is according to the CDC. In the last 20 years, the suicide rate in the US has increased by more than 25 percent and was the 10th leading cause of death in the US in 2018. It is the second leading cause of death among people in the US 10-14, 15-24, and 25-34 age groups. It is the fourth leading cause of death among people in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts in 2017 and 4.3% of all adults in the United States admitted having thoughts of suicide at some point this year.
However, this month is not just about sharing statistics and raising awareness, it is also about educating people about suicide prevention and how we can work together. There are so many resources from organizations and stakeholders discussing how we can prevent suicide, and while they are available year round, Suicide Prevention Month offers some time to focus even more on this important topic. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the CDC all have pages devoted to not just suicide prevention but this month in particular.
Next week (September 6-12) is National Suicide Prevention Week and next Thursday is World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th). There’s a lot more to add to the discussion that will continue later this month on whether to go to # BeThe1To (a hashtag from the Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or #KeepGoing (a hashtag from the AFSP). but now I want to leave you with it.
When it comes to suicide, it is not easy to ask for help. Neither tries to help those who struggle. This is a wild time we live in which makes the importance of checking each other in even more important than usual. But at the end of the day we have to keep fighting if it matters. And make no mistake, whether for you or someone else, there is much to struggle.