Post written by Delanie Barnard, MA, Kansas City University, Doctoral Candidate
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time when mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness. In 2017, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States claiming the lives of over 47,000 people. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. Overall rates of suicide have steadily climbed in all age groups since 1999.
What can you do to help prevent suicide?
The first step is to know the 12 suicide warning signs:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
What can you do if someone you know is showing these warning signs?
ASK them about their suicidal thoughts, BE THERE and stay connected with that person, KEEP THEM SAFE by asking if they have a plan to hurt themselves, HELP THEM CONNECT to suicide resources, and FOLLOW UP with them to see how they are doing.
You can find more resources for how to support someone in crisis at https://www.bethe1to.com.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) (en Español 1-888-628-9454) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.