September is Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month with National Suicide Prevention Week September 8-14, 2019.    During this annual campaign, individuals and organizations join together to raise awareness and provide education.  Many suicides can be prevented by knowing the warning signs and what to do if they are present.

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. More people in the world die from suicide in the world than by war and murder combined.  In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-34. Every day approximately 123 Americans die by suicide.  Suicide rates have in the US have risen 25% since 1999.

Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. We can all play a role in preventing these tragedies. You don’t have to have specialized training to check in with someone you are concerned about.  Individuals in distress are often not looking for specific advice. IASP urges everyone to “take a minute”

Take a minute to notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues

Warning signs of suicide include: hopelessness, rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family & society, anxiety, agitation, difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time and dramatic mood changes.

Take a minute to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different.   Pain isn’t always obvious, so be the one to offer kind words and the gift of your time. The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope. Ask and then listen.

Take a minute to find out what help is available for both you and others
help is available for both you and others.  There is help and hope.  Below are resources for further education and immediate help.

If you need immediate help:

National Suidcide Prevention Lifeline :1-800-273- TALK (8255) or text “Home” to 741-741

The Trevor Project, LGBT crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline 1-866-488-7386

Veteran’s Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255, option 1