TW: This post discusses suicide.
Every September while I’ve been writing this blog, I post about Suicide Prevention Month. Since this is a mental health blog, I believe it’s important to see the connection between mental health and suicide prevention, and my own research and experience has shown me ways to advocate 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 how important suicide prevention is to fighting against it.
Held in the United States in September, Suicide Prevention Month is national month of awareness and advocacy for the topic of suicide. I did not say suicide was a public health issue because it’s my opinion – that’s according to the CDC. In the last 20 years, the suicide rate in the U.S. has grown by more than 25 percent, and it was the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States in 2018. It is the second-leading cause of death among individuals in the 10-14, 15-24, and 25-34 age groups. It is the fourth-leading cause of death among individuals in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that in 2017, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts, and 4.3% of all adults in the United States admitted to having suicidal thoughts at some point that year.
But this month is not just about sharing statistics and bringing awareness, but about educating people on suicide prevention and how we can work together. There are so many resources available from organizations and advocacy groups that discuss how we can work to prevent suicide and while they’re available year-round, Suicide Prevention Month provides some time to focus even more on this important topic. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the CDC all have pages dedicated not only to suicide prevention but to this month especially.
Next week (September 6-12) is National Suicide Prevention Week and next Thursday is World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). There’s plenty more to add to the discussion that will continue as the month goes on whether you’re going to #BeThe1To (a hashtag from the Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or if you want to learn how to #KeepGoing (a hashtag from the AFSP) but for now, I want to leave you with this.
When it comes to the topic of suicide, asking for help isn’t easy. Neither is trying to help those who are struggling. This is a wild time we live in, which makes the importance of checking in on each other even more important than usual. But at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, we have to keep fighting. And make no mistake, whether it’s for you or someone else, there is plenty to fight for.