Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Jessica Sanchez

Sep 1, 2021

Every year, countless lives are lost to a sinister battle between themselves and mental illness. In 2019, 47,511 people, ranging from ages 15 to 85 years old, tragically lost that battle to suicide. As of 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause for death in the U.S. and was linked to higher negative thoughts, intense sadness and anxiety, anger/aggression, and isolation from loved ones. All of these factors place an individual at a much higher risk for committing suicide. Populations highly affected by suicidal ideation are males (although females attempt suicide more frequently), American Indians and Alaska Natives, adults aged 45-65 years old have the highest risk of committing suicide, and the LGBTQ adults and teenagers versus heterosexual adults and teenagers. 

Individuals who struggle with suicidal thoughts have difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships, work responsibilities, enjoyment in hobbies and activities and overall are unable to appropriately manage negative thoughts and emotions. Some individuals learn to hide their struggle with suicide and can appear “normal” on the outside, but on the inside, they are struggling with darker forces no one else knows about. The effects of losing a loved one to suicide are severe and leaves many families and friends asking questions, such as: “What did we miss?” “What could we have done?” “Had we known, would it have been enough to save them?”. Unfortunately, many of those questions will never be answered. 


Risk Factors:

  • Mental Health Disorders
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Grief / Loss
  • Trauma
  • Chemical Imbalances
  • Substance Abuse
  • Unemployment
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Lack of Support System
  • Physical Health Conditions
  • Relationship Conflicts
  • Work and Financial Stress
  • Previous Suicide Attempts
  • Bullying

 

Warning Signs:

  • Negative Self-view
  • Preoccupied with Death/Dying
  • Hopelessness
  • Fluctuating Appetite
  • Fluctuating Sleeping Patterns
  • Increased Anger and Irritability
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Increased Sadness
  • Increased Substance Use
  • Social Withdrawal from Others
  • Impulsivity or Risk-Taking Behaviors
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Threats of hurting self or others
  • Lack of Interest in Hobbies or Activities
  • Lacking Motivation and Energy



If you are having suicidal thoughts, here is what you can do:

- Contact a professional
- Talk to someone (family, friends, coworkers)
- Take Medication
- Safety Planning
- Collaborative Care
- Healthy Positive Coping Skills


What can you do if someone comes to you and shares they are thinking about suicide?:

- Stay calm and do not panic
- Listen, talk, and be emotionally supportive
- Do not punish or place undo blame on the individual
- Help them take those first steps in contacting professionals and collaborative support

 


When suicidal thoughts and emotions become more intense for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to call the Suicidal Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Suicide awareness month was created in order to shed light on one of the darkest moments in someone’s life. September is a month in which people who are struggling or may struggle with suicide in the future can break the taboo and be given proper resources to help manage mental health more effectively. If you or one of your loved one would like to speak to a therapist today, please call our counseling center at 210-614-4990 or visit our website. Please know you are never alone, and someone wants to be there to help you through this. Suicide can be prevented.

 


Sources:

https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/suicide-prevention-awareness-month

https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/Suicide/state/ALL

https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

 

Written by:

Jessica Sanchez

Sep 1, 2021

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