You can make a difference and save a life by learning about National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
We are halfway through September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Many organizations, mental health advocates, government entities, groups, and individuals are working hard to end suicide. Death by suicide is preventable. Recognizing warning signs, providing resources, and assisting someone who is suicidal could be what saves a life. You can be one of those individuals who saves a life!
In 2020, suicide was the twelfth leading cause of death for Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control, with 45,979 deaths by suicide that year. The highest suicide rates in the US are among white men; between 2000-2018, suicide rates increased by 30%.
It is essential that everyone knows the warning signs of suicide and stays committed to intervening anytime they recognize those warning signs. Here are some of the suicide warning signs to look out for:
- Suicide Ideation: This may be statements someone makes that are direct or indirect, such as “I wish I were dead,” “people would be better off without me,” “I wish I could fall asleep and not wake up,” or “I can’t take it anymore.”
- Behavioral Changes: Is the person behaving differently, such as isolating themselves, quitting an activity, or skipping work or school? Behavioral changes could also involve drinking or using drugs, changing sleeping patterns, exhibiting extreme mood swings, giving away valuable items, seeking someone to take custody of their pet, or taking dangerous risks.
- Expressed Feelings: Suicidal people can exhibit a range of emotions: emptiness, hopelessness, a feeling of being trapped, extreme sadness, increased anxiousness, agitation, rage, or unbearable emotional or physical pain. This may even look like someone getting extremely calm after being very distraught.
- Planning: Suicidal people often plan or research ways to die. You could come across this activity on their phone or computer, or you may notice they hint at it in conversation.
Talking to someone who is suicidal about their behavior will not influence them into taking their life. If you see these signs in someone or yourself, act immediately by acknowledging these changes in behavior, showing them that you care, and getting help the right way. To get help, you can:
- Call or text 988 together
- Chat at 988lifeline.org
- Text “HELLO” to 741741
- Tell another competent person/adult
Suicide is a forever decision. Dealing with suicidal behavior is complicated and can be difficult. Be prepared to help family members, friends, associates, coworkers, classmates, or strangers. Continue to be a light for others!
Colleen Eusterwiemann, Suicide Pre & Postvention Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Colleen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Colleen has previous experience working for local non-profits focusing on consulting, coordinating, planning, and providing direct care. Colleen joined The Kim Foundation in January of 2022.