September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
At A Friend of Mind, we are committed to spreading mental health awareness, promoting mental health advocacy, and providing resources for mental health and suicide prevention. Suicide prevention is something we take very seriously and strive to help people overcome the stigma that surrounds mental health or seeking mental health resources. The mission of A Friend of Mind is to provide support and resources to adolescents and their families to help eliminate mental health disparities in under-served communities.
Suicide is a major public health issue throughout all age groups but among adolescents and young adults ages 15-24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. Some of the risk factors associated with suicide in this age group include major depressive disorder, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, family history of depression, physical or sexual abuse, feeling isolated from social groups and bullying. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that includes national, state, and local school-based representative samples of 9th through 12th grade students monitoring high risk health behaviors and social problems among youth, there are over 3700 suicide attempts from youth in just 9th through 12th grade alone.
Suicide can be preventable, and it is a common misconception that you need to be a trained professional to offer support to someone in need. While a person’s pain is not always obvious, four out of five people who contemplate suicide show verbal or behavioral signs of these intentions. It is important to be aware of the signs and if you notice a friend or a loved one displaying one or more of these signs, please speak up or reach out for support to get them the help they need.
This is not an exhaustive list of signs to watch out for and you should always speak up or seek help if you feel that someone you care about is displaying behavior that concerns you. For more information to help you better understand the signs to prevent suicide and other suicide prevention resources, please visit any of the websites below:
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health– Help is available. Please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255