September is National Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month!
By Alexandra Broustovetskaia, Ph.D.
You Are Not Alone
Suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss, but when not addressed it can lead to more suffering as people continue to hurt in silence. Whether you’ve experienced suicidal thoughts, are a suicide survivor, or know someone who died by suicide, remember that you are not alone.
Break The Stigma and Build Hope
Suicide affects people of all walks of life, ages, ethnicity, and races. It is the 2nd leading cause of death among people ages 10-34* and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.** Because of its prevalence and impact, we must continue to break the stigma and connect with each other around this important topic. There are resources, treatments, and hope!
While there is no single cause of suicide, there are a number of factors that may occur and contribute to someone thinking or even acting on the thoughts of suicide. Life stressors or painful life events can overwhelm to the point that a person feels a deep sense of despair or hopelessness.
Know Risk Factors
Sudden changes in behaviors or mood, especially in the context of a significant loss or stress can signal that someone is at risk for suicide. Some important warning signs are feeling down, anxious, agitated, impulsive, hopeless, or ashamed.
Additionally, if someone talks about feeling like a burden to others, seeing no reason to live, and/or saying goodbye, this may mean they are experiencing an incredible amount of pain. Behaviors that suggest someone is at risk for suicide are increased use of substances, withdrawing from friends and family, writing suicide notes, researching methods to die, or giving away possessions.***
Treatment Can Help
When previous coping strategies are ineffective and a person struggles with mental health concerns, then the risk of suicide increases. But there is hope and treatment can help! Managing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can significantly improve quality of life and ability to cope with difficulties.
To support the cause of stopping suicide, please go to National Suicide Prevention Month website: https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month.
Resources for Support:
If you or someone you know is experiencing a life threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.
National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
Veterans Crisis Line (veteranscrisisline.net) 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ youth thetrevorproject.org) 1-866-488-7386
Online Chat/Text Message-based
Crisis Text Line: crisistextline.org
Local Area Resources:
Alliance Behavioral Health Access Line (1-800-510-9132)
Mobile Crisis Unit (877-626-1772)
Walk-in crisis stabilization center: UNC Wakebrook at 107 Sunnybrook Rd., Raleigh, NC; (984-974-4800)
*American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
**National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml
***Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: https://save.org/about-suicide/warning-signs-risk-factors-protective-factors/