According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, more than 47,000 people lose their life to suicide, with an estimated 1.38 million suicide attempts in 2019 alone. Suicide Awareness Month is a time to help raise awareness about this public health crisis and educate others on how they can get involved. Below is everything you need to know about this year’s Suicide Awareness Month, along with where you can get help for suicidal thoughts.
What Is Suicide Awareness Month?
To help raise awareness and get people engaged in the conversation about suicide, September is recognized annually as National Suicide Awareness Month. All month, mental health advocates, suicide prevention organizations, community members, survivors, and allies come together to help promote suicide prevention and awareness.
One of the most iconic symbols used to represent Suicide Awareness Month is the semicolon. Suicide awareness organizations across the country have used the semicolon as a way to help raise awareness about the importance of suicide prevention. The symbol represents when a sentence could have been stopped, but instead was continued. This suicide awareness symbol is typically used by those who have either attempted suicide or lost a loved one to suicide.
Another way that Suicide Awareness Month is observed is through the suicide awareness ribbon. Awareness ribbons have been used for decades to help educate communities about conditions and raise money for research. Suicide awareness ribbons also help serve as a reminder that suicide is an issue that needs to be talked about.
Using these symbols and colors is a great way to show support and raise awareness during Suicide Awareness Month.
Why Is Suicide Awareness Month Important?
Suicide Awareness Month is a time to help shed light on a serious public health issue. And it’s especially important in 2021. Given major stresses causes by the COVID-19 pandemic, now, more than ever, it’s important to help raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health. The CDC reports that during June of 2020, nearly 40% of adults reported struggling with their mental health or substance abuse. Of that 40%, 11% said they had seriously considered suicide in the last month.
There are several other reasons why Suicide Awareness Month is so important. Below are three of the main goals behind the Suicide Awareness Month campaign, along with how you can get involved.
Reduce the Stigma
Suicide Awareness Month is a time to shed light on a highly stigmatized issue. Similar to mental illness, one of the largest barriers to preventing suicide is the stigma that makes it hard to talk about. This prevents those who need help from seeking it. By normalizing the discussion of mental health issues, Suicide Awareness Month helps break down these barriers. To that end, we’re dispelling common myths perpetuated by suicide stigma:
- Asking someone about suicide may plant the idea in their head
- Everyone who dies by suicide is depressed
- Suicidal people don’t have any second thoughts about suicide
- A sudden improvement in someone’s emotional state after a suicide attempt indicates the risk for suicide is over
Chances are, you or someone you know has been affected by suicide. Even so, people often don’t talk about it as much as they should. One of the main goals of Suicide Awareness Month is to help raise awareness about suicide. Many people find talking about suicide to be uncomfortable or daunting.
However, getting involved with Suicide Awareness Month is a very simple, yet effective way to help raise awareness. Connecting with others in your community, learning the warning signs of suicide, and getting involved with local organizations are all ways to help save lives. Suicide Awareness Month is a time for everyone to come together and have hard conversations to help stop suicides from happening.
Reduce the Risk
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., which makes it very a serious public health issue. From 1999 to 2014, suicide rates have increased by nearly 25%. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34, and the fourth for people aged 15-19. With such a high prevalence among younger age groups and a major increase since 1999, Suicide Awareness Month is a vitally important tool in helping reduce the risk of suicide for everyone.
Another reason Suicide Awareness Month is important is that it helps teach others about the risk factors and signs of suicide.
Who Is At Risk for Suicide?
Millions of people suffer from the symptoms of mental illness every year in the U.S. When these symptoms go untreated or ignored, they can often have life-threatening consequences.
Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideations, is a very common symptom that may accompany mental illness. During Suicide Awareness Month, there is an emphasis on recognizing who may be at risk for suicidal ideations.
Many different situations could lead someone to consider suicide. That said, some common risk factors for suicide can include the following:
- Previous suicide attempts
- Mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
- Financial problems
- Legal problems
- Substance use disorder
- Social isolation
- Family history of suicide
- Serious illness or chronic pain
Another major risk factor for suicidal ideation is trauma. People who have experienced a major, traumatic life event are also at a higher risk for experiencing suicidal thoughts. This is especially true for those who have served in the military, which is why military suicide awareness is another major part of Suicide Awareness Month.
Understanding who is at risk for suicide is one of the best ways to help prevent suicidal thoughts from becoming attempts. If you notice that yourself or a loved one is contemplating suicide, the time to get help is now.
Where to Get Help During Suicide Awareness Month in Florida
At Port St. Lucie Hospital, located in southern Florida, we understand the importance of Suicide Awareness Month. We understand that raising awareness about suicide is one of the best ways to help prevent the loss of life.
At our treatment facility, we actively work to help prevent suicide and suicidal thoughts through our specially crafted mental health and addiction services. At Port St. Lucie Hospital, we understand that every patient is unique and that no two cases of suicidal thoughts are the same. That’s why we offer crisis care services that can be tailored to your specific needs. Alongside these services, our patients also have access to some of the following treatments:
- Dual diagnosis treatment if a substance use disorder is present
- Inpatient mental health treatment
- Support group sessions
- Group and individual therapy
- Family education
- Community services coordination
While Suicide Awareness Month ends this September, our commitment to helping prevent suicides continues year-round. Getting help for suicide can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Port St. Lucie Hospital is ready to help keep you safe during your journey to a happier, healthier life today. If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can reach out to us at 772-408-5871. You can also contact us through our confidential contact form to get in touch with us online today.