September is National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness of suicide and change the conversation around it. Suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate and often mean there are serious underlying issues.

These statistics help put the crisis into perspective:

  • In 2020, nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in the U.S.
  • Nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34, and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
  • 78% of people who die by suicide are male

It’s important to understand the signs—both in ourselves and others. The graphic above from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows many of the warning signs. Exhibiting even one can be an indicator that someone is seriously contemplating suicide.

National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play in helping prevent suicide and supporting those in crisis. Here are a few free resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • Phone – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers confidential crisis counseling anytime at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Text – Mental health support is available 24/7 by texting “NAMI” to 741741
  • Print – Navigating a Mental Health Crisis, a free, downloadable crisis guide, is available in English and Spanish at www.nami.org/crisisguide

Although it may be difficult to know where or how to start, conversations about suicide can make a difference by encouraging healing and giving hope to those in need.

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