An alarming number of individuals and families are touched by suicide each year. In the United States, it is the 10thleading cause of death – and that number skyrockets among young people, aged 10-34, to thesecondleading cause of death.
The Perry Wellness Center family has been touched by suicide among the families of both peers and staff. As part of our community outreach, we are joining with other organizations around the country to provide information about the risk of suicide today.
September has been designated as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month by many mental health organizations. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is one such organization, and it is offering a free downloadable guide to the pubic: Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency. We encourage our readers to download a copy and share with others. You may not be aware of a particular individual who is at risk for suicide, but the chances are that a neighbor, friend, relative, or colleague is struggling with suicidal thoughts. Whether you offer a listening ear, a hotline number, or a ride to a mental health clinic, your simple offer of help can make a difference in the life of someone in despair.
But how do you recognize that someone may need assistance? The NAMI resource guide reviews signs and symptoms of individuals contemplating suicide. It also identifies specific risk factors. While no sector of society is untouched by suicide, we know that some factors place individuals at greater risk:
- A family history of suicide
- Presence of a mental health condition; e.g., depression
- Alcohol and/or drug abuse
- Ready access to firearms
- Extreme or prolonged stress
- A serious medical problem
- Recent history of personal tragedy or loss
The highest rate of suicide is among middle-aged white males, but all demographic groups are at some degree of risk.
We encourage our readers to learn more, including specific warning signs that an individual may be suicidal.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or want to assist someone who is, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact your physician or local mental health provider.