There are no awareness months that are more important than any other, however, September holds a special place in My heart as a suicide attempt survivor. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Every September, we take the time not only to remember those who lost their lives to suicide but put a spotlight on survivors of attempts and awareness and prevention methods.
There are so many various reasons why people turn to suicide, commonly reasons include, feeling hopeless and out of options, severe depression or other emotional instability and debilitating pain or illness. While some may think everyone deals with similar problems, however, we all deal with them differently.
While suicide may seem like a viable option to stop the pain so many are suffering, completing the act leaves family, friends and loved ones devastated. According to this study by the United Health Foundation published in 2021 states “There were nearly 46,000 deaths by suicide in 2020, making it the 12th-leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), that same year, 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan and 1.2 million attempted suicide in the past year.”
The statistics are horrendous and should be a source of worry for all of humanity. These numbers show that there is little chance that someone in our extended circle has not contemplated, attempted or sadly, completed the act of suicide.
The study goes on to list things that have been effective in preventing suicides such as
· Primary care interventions using care coordinators.
· Telephone counseling (primarily effective among women).
· Education and community activities to improve resilience.
· Clinical treatments.
This year, we gained a major resource in suicide prevention as well as other mental health crisis’s, 988. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration “The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.”
I agree with NAMI that 988 is the first step in reimagining our crisis response. Too often, police officers are dispatched when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs medical help instead of guns in their faces.
If you or someone you know is contemplating or struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out and seek support.