Yep, that is right. It is okay to talk about suicide in fact September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness about suicide by ending the stigma and helping to shift public perception.
Did You know that Day One is a non profit organization that treats mental health conditions and can assess for triggered risks including suicidal thoughts. Therapists and outcome tools are used to screen clients that come into the office and treat them appropriately and efficiently.
I remember waking up one Saturday morning and taking my then two year old daughter to her normal Saturday morning music class. It was the toddler type of music class where they moved from station to station with their parents and ended the class with a short group time. Nothing unusual had happened. My day seemed to be going like any other on music class mornings, but that was about to change.
As I was walking out of the door and back to my apartment on the college campus where I was working as a Hall Director, I ran into a co-worker of mine who had asked if I had heard about the completed suicide that had happened in the early morning. I told her I had not and immediately checked my phone. There were several texts from other co-workers as well as an email from my boss and the psychologist who worked with resident life.
Panic shot through me. How was I going to tell the Resident Assistants I was over what had happened? How was I going to let residents know? What type of things might they need in the wake of all of this? I wish I could say this was a one time event, but unfortunately it was not and we would have at least one completed suicide each year that I was a Hall Director at this particular university.
For Your Info!
About 50% of people in the United States know someone who has died by suicide in their lifetime. Wow! That is half the population that knows someone who has died of suicide in the their life time!
1 person dies by suicide every 11 minutes in the US
According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of the death in the United States
There is one completed suicide for every 25 suicide attempts, states the CDC
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-24 year old Americans (CDC)
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are 5x more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives (CDC)
It seems like suicide is everywhere, but what can we do about it?
1. Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors
- Increased Alcohol and drug use
- Aggressive Behavior
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and community
- Dramatic mood swings
- Impulsive or reckless behavior Collecting or saving pills
- Giving away possessions
- Saying goodbye to family and friends
- Family History of suicide
- Substance Use
- Access to firearms
- A serious and chronic medical illness
- A history of trauma or abuse
- Prolonged Stress
2. Be there for the person; listen to their story and believe them. Be friends.
3. Help them get to a safe place and be safe. You cans store medications for them or firearms
4. Connect them to resources
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
- The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ you can call, text, or chat at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
- UT Safe App- is a texting app
- Seek Therapy
Though Suicide can be a lonely path we can all work together to end the stigma and help each other out.
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