National Suicide Awareness Month: What Can You Do?

suicide prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 45,000 Americans ages 10 or older ended their lives in 2016. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. On average, there are 132 suicides each day, with firearms accounting for more than half of suicide deaths.

While suicide can often be preventable, many do not seek the help they need because of the stigma surrounding it. Since 1975, National Suicide Awareness events have been held throughout the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on the 10th of September, to help raise awareness of those around us who are at risk of committing suicide.

The mission behind these observances, according the the World Health Organization, is “to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.” To increase awareness about rising suicide rates, National Suicide Awareness Month is celebrated throughout the month of September.

What Is National Suicide Awareness Month?

suicide awareness bracelet

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, created National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month as the overarching month-long event to foster awareness of suicide and the fact that suicide is, often times, preventable. NAMI provides a myriad of tools and resources for sufferers of mental illness with suicidal ideation and those who know or love them.

National Suicide Awareness Month serves as an opportunity for people to reach out to those affected by suicide, reduce the stigma associated with suicide and help individuals experiencing negative emotions that could trigger suicide find mental health treatment. During Suicide Awareness Month, people and organizations across the United States share stories and resources dealing with suicide in an effort to spread awareness for this often taboo subject. Across the country, people display suicide awareness ribbons, bracelets, and symbols sporting the suicide awareness colors of teal and purple in order to help raise awareness.

Military suicide awareness is an increasingly common focus during National Suicide Awareness Month, as many veterans are at an increased risk of committing suicide. The suicide rate for veterans is 1.5 times higher than that of the general population. About 20 veterans commit suicide a day, with those who haven’t had professional assistance being at particular risk for committing suicide.

How Can I Help Somebody Who Might Be Suicidal?

We can all help to make a difference in the lives of those around us who might be struggling with thoughts of suicide. It can be as simple as reaching out to someone who you know is having a rough time, or keeping your eyes open for somebody who is struggling and taking a moment to talk with them. These small acts of kindness can sometimes be the key to helping someone open up and seek support for their issues.

Talking about suicide can be an uncomfortable topic, but it’s one that needs to be touched on now and then. Let people know it’s okay to talk about these hard subjects and to reach out for mental health treatment when needed. Also, try to learn more about suicide and what leads to it. The more you know, the more you can help others.

Some indicators of suicidal ideation include:

  • talking about suicide often, or discussing plans for committing suicide
  • frequently expressing hopelessness, or feelings of being unable to control the things going on in their lives
  • acting anxious, agitated, or overly aggressive
  • an increasing reliance on alcohol or drugs

Sudden changes in mood and behavior in somebody who has previously struggled with mental health issues can also sometimes be a sign of suicidal ideation. Despite outdated misperceptions, suicide is neither a personal failure, nor solely the fault of mental illness, but rather a common human response to difficult environmental factors and emotional pain.

Additional resources are always becoming available to more people across the country. This year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trans Lifeline and the Trevor Project Lifeline also provide round-the-clock services for LGBTQ+ individuals, while organizations such as the Veterans Crisis Line exist to assist those with past military service who are struggling with suicide as well.

Finding Professional Mental Health Care in Louisiana

Finding Professional Mental Health Care in Louisiana

While beginning the conversation about suicide awareness is an important step, not everybody can be helped with just a conversation. Mental health issues are a common cause of driving people to commit suicide, which means that oftentimes, mental health treatment is a critical part of the answer.

The most effective way to manage a mental health disorder that could induce suicidal thoughts is to seek professional assistance. If you’re experiencing suicidal ideations, seek a mental health counselor with training in treating suicidal behaviors. A counselor can help you better understand the causes of your psychological problems and ways to better control symptoms of mental illness.

At Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital, we help improve mental health through a wide variety of different programs. For those in immediate need of mental help, we offer crisis care services which give our patients a safe place to reflect, reset, and heal. Our licensed health professionals help patients learn how to work through crises and learn the coping skills they need to feel back in control of their lives.

For those who aren’t in immediate danger, but still feel that they need professional help with their mental health issues, our inpatient psychiatric program provides intensive treatment for adults dealing with mental illness. No matter which program you choose, you will have the space, time, and guidance to fully work on your recovery.

Contact the experts at Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital for more information, as well as to discuss your options for recovery. You can reach out by phone at 225-300-8470 or through our confidential form to begin your treatment journey today.

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