Suicide Prevention is focus in September

Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control. Each year, more than 42,000 Americans die by suicide. With numbers this high suicide has become a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to share resources, stories and other valuable information to raise awareness about the topic.

Suicide is a highly taboo and stigmatized topic in America, but as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes, “we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide because just one conversation can change a life.”

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According to NAMI, suicidal thoughts, much like any mental health condition, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Some warning signs include:

— Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous

— Increased alcohol and drug use

— Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community

— Dramatic mood swings or shifts from despair to calm

— Talking, writing or thinking about death

— Impulsive or reckless behavior

— Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions

— Saying goodbye to friends and family

— Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication.

National Suicide Prevention Month is time to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect those in need with treatment.

By having tough conversations about uncomfortable topics we can prepare ourselves to protect our loved ones and reach out to others who are need of resources.

NAMI offers the following information about how to help someone with suicide ideation:

— If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.

— If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

— If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line. Or chat with a counselor at

For more information about warning signs or resources, visit, or