September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month but you can learn to recognize the signs and risk factors of suicide, spread awareness in your community, and know how to respond to someone in crisis all year long.
Suicide is preventable and help is always available. According to surveys conducted by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, 94 percent of Americans believe that suicide can be prevented and another 81 percent of adults want suicide prevention to be a national priority. By getting informed and getting involved, everyone can play a part in raising awareness about suicide prevention. Here’s what you need to know to change a life.
Suicide does not have one single cause; it is a complex issue. Suicide is also preventable. Oftentimes, people can be struggling with a combination of difficult circumstances or situations that go undiagnosed and unaddressed. While the existence of risk factors will not predict whether someone attempts or dies by suicide, they can increase the likelihood of someone taking action toward ending their own life. Some of these risk factors can include:
It’s important to note that risk factors can also vary across groups depending on age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics. For example, historical trauma suffered by American Indians and the prejudice and discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community are two examples that can contribute to the high rates of suicide within these populations. In fact, research shows that LGBTQ+ youth are five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
No two people are the same which means one person might display a combination of warning signs while another person might display one; however, both may be at equal risk. Knowing whether behaviors are new, have increased, or seem related to stressful events or changes can help you determine when you should ask someone about suicide. Here are some warning signs to look out for that might indicate someone is in danger:
All warning signs of suicide should be taken seriously. On average, there are over 48,000 suicides every year and for every suicide, there are an estimated 25 more people who attempt suicide so it’s important to talk to people about suicide even if the conversation seems intimidating and personal.
Most people who think about suicide don’t really want to end their life. They just want relief from the intense emotional pain they’re experiencing and don’t see workable alternatives to resolve the problem or issue.
The stigma surrounding suicide often prevents people from approaching the subject with someone they’re concerned about out of fear of offending them or putting the idea of suicide in their minds. However, this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, studies have shown that acknowledging the threat of suicide may actually reduce suicidal ideation. Here are some actions you can take if you believe someone might be at risk for suicide.
There’s plenty you can do to break the stigma, encourage people to seek help early on, and change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention and awareness. Here’s what you can do to support suicide prevention year-round.
Register for a Training
Attend an Event or Join a Chapter
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has chapters and events all across the country that you can join to learn more about preventing suicide in your community. To take action with AFSP, visit their website for information about joining a walk, volunteering, and more.
Donate to Suicide Prevention Efforts
Jefferson Center works closely with the community to offer free suicide prevention training courses to those interested in learning more. To help us continue offering these valuable courses for free, consider making a donation today.
Remember to Practice Self-Care
Talking and learning about suicide is new for many people, whether you’re educating yourself on the signs and symptoms or helping someone through a crisis. Be sure to take time for yourself to recuperate and refill your cup by engaging in regular self-care.
Suicide is preventable and you can be the one to make a difference in someone’s life. If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call us at 720-791-2735 or call the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 800-273-8255 or text “TALK” to 741741
To find more resources, please click here.
Reach out and connect with Jefferson Center today.
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