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Suicide Prevention Month: warning signs and resources for those in need

By Samantha Padilla

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which takes place in September, aims to increase public understanding of this taboo and stigmatized subject. We utilize this month to change how the public views suicide, to inspire individuals with hope, and to provide them with important information. It is important that people, their friends, and their families have access to the tools they require to talk about suicide prevention and get help when needed. estimates that between 2010 to 2020, suicide claimed close to 500,000 lives. The number of suicides rose from 2010 to 2018 before slowing down in 2019 and 2020, while some studies contend that the number of suicides is likely underreported. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States with 45,979 deaths in 2020.

  • Talking about:

  • Wanting to die.

  • Great guilt or shame.

  • Being a burden to others.

  • Feeling:

  • Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live.

  • Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage.

  • Unbearable emotional or physical pain.

  • Change in behavior, such as:

  • Making a plan or researching ways to die.

  • Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will.

  • Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast.

  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

  • Eating or sleeping more or less.

  • Using drugs or alcohol more often.

  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone.

What can you do if you experience suicidal thoughts or see that someone else is?

  • Call a suicide hotline.

  • In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at Services are free and confidential.

  • If you’re a U.S. veteran or service member in crisis, call 988 and then press 1, or text 838255. Or chat using

  • The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454.

  • Call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately.

  • Make an appointment with your doctor, other health care provider or a mental health professional.

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings.

  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.

  • As a friend, be there for them.

  • Ask them if they are okay or if they are thinking of hurting or killing themself. Don’t be afraid to ask directly.

  • Listen to them.

  • Tell them you are worried and concerned about them.

  • Let them know they have been heard and let them know that they are not alone.

  • Talk to an adult you trust about your concerns

Friends, family, coworkers, and the community as a whole are affected by suicide and suicide attempts in terms of their health and well-being. When someone commits suicide, their surviving loved ones and friends may feel shocked, angry, guilty, depressive or anxious symptoms, or even suicidal thoughts. Although the crises that people experience may feel formidable and agonizing at the moment, they are typically only temporary. Things can improve as long as a person is still alive. Conditions shift. Even if their circumstances are unchanging on the outside, individuals could find things that make life worthwhile. There is always a chance that they will develop coping mechanisms. Or they might learn to value other aspects of life. They might even discover a goal that lends significance to their loss or traumatic experience.

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