Have you ever felt such despair that you considered harming yourself and taking your own life? No? Then you might find it hard to imagine that this is the case for others. But you know what? Suicide IS preventable and we want to ensure everyone can recognize the signs that a friend, loved one, colleague or neighbor (anyone in your life) needs help.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month and while having a month dedicated to awareness is great, Give an Hour wants to change that and create awareness around suicide prevention 24/7 year-round. It’s that important.
To give you an idea of scope … Dying by suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States.* According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 45,979 deaths by suicide in 2020. That’s about one death every 11 minutes. And this doesn’t even include the number of people who attempted suicide but weren’t successful. While there are certain groups that seem to report higher instances of suicide rates, suicide definitely doesn’t discriminate.
The CDC also reports that 90% of all people who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at their death. We can do better.
Give an Hour understands how important it is to an individual’s mental health to be connected to a community. It’s equally important to be able to identify when someone is struggling. For starters, you can become familiar with the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering (scroll through to slide 6), which indicate someone may be having a hard time and is in pain.
However, if you know or want to find out if someone is thinking of harming themselves, be direct and ask, “Are you thinking about suicide?” Asking does not increase the likelihood that a person may carry through with this permanent act, but it does increase the chance they now know they’re not alone. You see them, you care about them and you are not shying away even though it’s difficult to talk about suicide.
There are several risk factors and warning signs that may help you determine if a friend or loved one is more predisposed to attempting suicide. A few examples of risk factors may be mental disorders, history of alcohol or substance abuse, or a history of trauma. Warning signs can include talking about wanting to die, a sense of hopelessness or behaving recklessly.
If we all work together 24/7 year-round, we CAN prevent suicide. If you are an active-duty personnel, veteran or a loved one, Give an Hour has a network of licensed mental health professionals who are available to speak with you. Feel free to use our provider search tool to find the right person for your needs.
Give an Hour urges you to seek help if you’re considering harming yourself or taking your life. Likewise, please don’t let someone suffer alone. Consider sharing our Connect to Hope suicide prevention toolkit to connect, spread and give hope.
Give an Hour does not provide emergency services.
For immediate help: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. OR text SIGNS to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line. These services are free and available 24/7.