By Sami Dugdale
Blog Content Contributor
National Suicide Prevention Week is an event held by the American Association of Suicidology every year. The official start date was this past Sunday, September 10th which was National Suicide Prevention Day and it will continue to run through September 16th. Schools, churches, hospitals, and treatment centers from all over the nation spend this week hosting events and raising awareness of suicide and the warning signs leading up to suicide.
The theme this year is “Take a Minute, Save Life”. Their goal is to “heighten public awareness, promote mental health, prevent mental disorders and improve the care and treatment of those with mental disorders.”
AAS Mission Statement: To promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it.
Statistics by the AAS:
- Suicide claims approximately over 800,000 lives worldwide each year, resulting in one suicide every 40 seconds. There is an estimated 10 to 20 suicide attempts per each completed suicide, resulting in several million suicide attempts each year.
- In the United States, one person dies by suicide every 11.9 minutes, with 44,193 deaths by suicide in our country during 2015.
- In our country, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, and is the 10th leading cause of death for people of all ages.
- Many of those people who died never received effective behavioral health services, for many reasons including the difficulty of accessing services by healthcare providers trained in best practices to reduce suicide risk, the stigma of using behavioral health treatment and the stigma associated with losing a loved one to suicide.
The Warning Signs of Suicide:
IS PATH WARM?
S Substance Abuse
M Mood Changes
AAS’s Ways to be Helpful to Someone who is Threatening Suicide:
- Show interest and support
- Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide
- Be willing to listen
- Be nonjudgemental. Do not debate whether suicide is right or wrong
- Do not ask why
- Offer empathy, not sympathy
- Do not act shocked
- Do not be sworn to secrecy. Seek outside help
- Offer hope that alternatives are available
- Get help from individuals/agencies specializing in crisis or suicide prevention
The number one message that the AAS wishes to send out through this week is that the most important thing you can do for a friend is just to listen. To be an active support system for the people around you, you must be prepared to listen with no judgement or prejudices, be open to that person’s thoughts and feelings, and respond with patience and understanding.
You can keep up with events going on around you and contribute to the conversation on social media using the hashtags #SuicidePrevention and #StigmaFree. AAS also encourages those who want to get involved to contact their local crisis center to volunteer for the Lifeline to provide support to those in a crisis or thinking about suicide.
Feel encouraged to save this number, and to share it with family and friends: National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273- TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Featured image by Tafari Robertson.