|September is National Suicide Prevention Month|
|By Member Joyce Shry|
|September 5, 2019|
Suicide is a national problem.
Suicide is a tragic end to a life, a permanent solution to a temporary problem, yet it is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the US and across the world. It is one thing to hear that Americans suffer from a high rate of suicide and suicide attempts, but when it hits home we realize we have to ask some tough questions.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml), suicide is a major public health concern with over 47,000 people dying by suicide in the United States in 2017. It is also one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation. Knowing the warning signs can help save lives. Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages and ethnicities can be at risk.
Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means to self-harm and following up with loved ones are just some actions we can all take to help others. We need to talk openly about mental health and normalize mental health conversations in families, schools and communities. One of the most well known resources is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline telephone number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
In Maryland, if you or someone you know is in crisis, contact Maryland’s crisis hotline by calling 2-1-1 and pressing option 1 or texting 898211 or visit 211MD.org. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
If you believe someone may be displaying signs of suicide, please remember to ACT:
To further foster support and safety, we encourage all members of our community to take the steps to be there for someone, to actively listen, and connect. The tragedy of suicide demands a proactive and coordinated response from both the public sector and local communities. During National Suicide Prevention month, we need to remind ourselves that working together with compassion and commitment, we can make a difference by reducing stigma and increase awareness in order to facilitate help seeking behaviors.
Spread the message that we can all take action to prevent suicide, and that healing, hope and help can happen. There is help available because suicide is never the answer.