Suicide: learn what you can to fight against it
World Suicide Prevention Day was Tuesday, Sept. 10, and September is Suicide Prevention Month. We urge our readers to take note, to be better prepared to avoid and help prevent suicide.
Suicide is a growing problem everywhere and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That's about 800,000 people worldwide every year — although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides. In this modern era, there are tools and information to help people avoid that tragedy. On this day and month, and every day, it's important to take the time to educate ourselves. Here are a handful of ways mental health experts suggest that people get involved with preventing suicide.
Connect - Stretch out your hand to someone who may need help. It's widely known that certain behaviors indicate the possibility of suicide. We can all learn the warning signs of suicidal "ideation." If we spot them early enough, we can take action.
Discuss - Talking about this issue is an important first step in ridding society of the idea that mental health issues should remain hidden. During the month, or anytime, attend a panel discussion on how mental problems intensify thoughts of suicide.
Search for resources - World Suicide Prevention Day provides lots of resources for people to learn more about the reasons for suicide and how to prevent them. At your local library, there are countless books, films, and events to get you pointed in the right direction. Knowledge is not only power — knowledge can save someone's life.
The statistics behind suicides are staggering and heartbreaking. Suicides make up a mental health emergency. It's estimated that 1 in 15 American adults suffer from depression and the tragedy is that 80-90% of people respond positively to treatment if depression is correctly diagnosed.
Older people are more likely to die from suicide. Suicide is most common among people between the ages of 45 and 64. ?Men complete suicides more often. Still, women are more likely to make an attempt.
Suicide is a very complex issue. That's why, as WHO points out, "prevention efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact."
World Suicide Prevention Day is important as suicide affects us all. Many people know somebody who has taken their own life. Still others know someone who has lost a friend or family member. World Suicide Prevention Day gives us time to reflect on the value of life and that no matter how bad things seem, there's always hope.
One of the main goals of World Suicide Prevention Day is "to increase awareness about suicidal behaviors and how to effectively prevent them," according to WHO. Contact your local suicide prevention hotline if you have a friend who's confided about having suicidal thoughts or you see a social media post about someone's intentions. Take action.
World Suicide Prevention Day is a reminder that society needs consistent and increasing advocacy for mental health resources so that people struggling with mental health disorders can find the help they need.
Often, involvement from one outside person expressing interest can deflect someone from attempting suicide. Often, seeking help through a hotline phone call can save a desperate person's life. During this month, take the time to learn more about what you can do to prevent suicides in your family and your community.
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