ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — September is National Suicide Prevention month. It’s designed to create awareness and promote actions people can take to prevent suicides. When it comes to suicides, the numbers are staggering. There are about twice as many suicides in the United States as there are homicides. Ivanhoe has what you can do to help.
There are about 130 people who die by suicide each day.
Douglas Ruderfer, PhD, Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says, “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States; that’s top three among young adults and adolescents.”
The rates of mental disorders linked to suicides are also on the rise. Studies show depression rates in the US tripled in the early months of the pandemic and a study from Boston University found depression now affects one in three Americans.
JooEun Kang, MD, PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says, “We know that depression is a major risk factor for suicide attempt.”
But there are steps that can be taken to reduce this risk factor and others.
Ruderfer states, “That oftentimes just starts or can begin with telling someone, a friend, a family member or a doctor, that you are, in fact, struggling.”
And if you know someone who is struggling, you don’t have to wait until they talk to you. Be sensitive and ask them direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?” Or “Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?” Studies show talking about suicide decreases rather than increases their risk for suicide. Also, encourage them to speak to a mental health professional and never promise to keep someone’s suicidal thoughts a secret.
There are things congress can do, too. New research from the American Psychological Association found in states that enact hate crime laws that protect LGBTQIA+ populations, the rate of suicide attempts among gay and straight high school students dropped significantly. If you or anyone you know needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa,
SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH: SIMPLE STEPS TO STOP SUICIDES
BACKGROUND: Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with any intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions. Suicide rates increased 30% between 2000–2018 and declined in 2019 and 2020. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, with 45,979 deaths in 2020. This is about one death every 11 minutes. The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2020, an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.
DIAGNOSIS: Some of the signs that someone is thinking about suicide include if they are talking about wanting to die, having great guilt or shame, or being a burden to others. Some other signs are if they express feeling empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live, extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage, or unbearable emotional or physical pain. Also look for changes in behavior, like making a plan or researching ways to die, withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will, taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast, displaying extreme mood swings, eating or sleeping more or less, or using drugs or alcohol more often. If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
NEW REGULATIONS: The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, signed into law after the passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020, authorized 988 as a new three-digit number for suicide and mental health crisis. “988 is more than a number, it is a message: we’re there for you. Through this and other actions, we are treating mental health as a priority and putting crisis care in reach for more Americans,” said Secretary Becerra, who has been meeting with states across the country about the transition to 988 as part of HHS’ National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health. “There is still much work to do. But what matters is that we’re launching, 988 will be live. We are looking to every governor and every state in the nation to do their part to make this a long-term success.”
* For More Information, Contact: Craig Boerner
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