September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month- a time to raise awareness of the stigmatized topic to educate and shift public perception while spreading hope to those affected by suicide.
Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background and are often the result of untreated mental health conditions.
- Women attempt suicide more than men, however, 79% of all people who die by suicide are male
- In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-14 and the third leading cause among people aged 15-24
- Prevalence of suicidal thoughts by demographics:
- 3% of young adults aged 18-25
- 45% of LGBTQ youth
- 8% of high school students
You can take action to prevent suicide in your community and empower individuals to be there for those who may be in distress.
Ideas for Action:
Encourage Help Seeking
Spread the word about crisis services
- The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free, confidential, 24/7 support via call or text
- The Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential, 24/7 support via text (text HOME to 741741)
Support Those Who Need It
Join the #BeThe1To movement
- #BeThe1To Ask
Acknowledge and talk about suicide by asking questions like: “Are you thinking about suicide?”, “How do you hurt?”, and “How can I help?”. This opens the door for effective communication about their emotional pain and allows for everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Listen with intent and take their answers seriously. Never promise to keep their thoughts a secret and make sure you focus on their reasons for living, not your reasons for them to stay alive.
- #BeThe1To Be There
Increasing someone’s connectedness and limiting their isolation is an important factor against suicide. Show support for the person at risk by being physically present with them or by talking to them on the phone. Make sure you follow through! If you say you’ll do something, do it.
- #BeThe1To Keep Them Safe
Put time and distance between the person and their chosen method of suicide. It is especially important to reduce a person’s access to highly lethal means such as firearms and medications.
- #BeThe1To Help Them Connect
Connect them with support and resources such as 988 or a mental health professional to establish a safety net if they find themselves in crisis. It is also important to work with them to develop a safety plan of ways to identify when they are having suicidal ideations and a list of individuals to contact.
- #BeThe1To Follow Up
Check-in with them to see how they are doing with a nice message, call, or any other form of communication. This increases feelings of connectedness and shares your ongoing support for them.
Share Resources That Promote Healing
Complete The Course Take 5 to Save Lives to...
- Learn the warning signs, risk factors, and protective factors of suicide
- Know how to find help and support yourself and others who may be suicidal
- Do something to get involved and take action
- Talk about suicide
- Share to help spread the word