September is a month of change, of transitions. The weather starts to get cooler, school is back in full effect, and believe it or not, some stores are already getting ready for the holiday season. September is also important because it’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. No matter your age, gender, creed or background, suicidal thoughts can affect you.
Suicide is not only the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., but it is also the 3rd leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, and the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 to 24. Suicidal thoughts are often the end result of untreated mental diseases such as depression, bipolar disorder, and many others. These illnesses can bring people, like you or someone you love, to a low point in life, with a feeling that the only way to escape is to take their own life.
How Can You Help Prevent Suicide?
This month, take some extra time to check on the mental health of your loved ones. It can be as simple as asking them how they are doing. If you know that they have been struggling with depression or other mental illnesses, give them some extra support.
Break the stigma of suicide by speaking out against it. Suicide affects more than just the person feeling suicidal. It affects their friends, family, and coworkers – basically anyone who is connected to them. If you’re worried about someone you know taking their life, look for the warning signs of suicide. They may begin saying things such as, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” or, “Life will probably be better without me.” This is called suicide ideation, which can lead to much darker and more dangerous thoughts. Dramatic mood swings, reckless behavior, and social withdrawal are also other warning signs of suicide to look out for.
If you or anyone you know has been exhibiting any of these warning signs, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255). Counselors are available 24/7 and can offer immediate assistance for people who are feeling like there’s no escape.
We also would strongly recommend seeking out a licensed mental health professional such as ours here at Holiner Psychiatric Group. A mental health professional can help diagnose and treat the mental illnesses that, if left untreated, can lead down a dark path. That path could ultimately end with a suicide attempt, and there’s no need for that in a society with all the tools to help.