September Has World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 to spread awareness about taking action to prevent suicides. Several events and activities are organized to make people understand that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
It’s a growing problem and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s about 800,000 people worldwide every year — although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides.
We lead busy lifestyles and barely get time to sit and actually process our thoughts, which is likely a reason why mental health issues or underlying problems go unassessed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is committed somewhere in the world every 40 seconds. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness is the biggest reason behind suicide.
30% – the percentage increase in the rate of death by suicide in the U.S. between 2000 and 2016.
50% – the percentage increase in suicides among girls and women between 2000 and 2016.
10 – the ranking of suicide as the leading cause of death in the U.S.
47,511 – the number of Americans who died by suicide in 2019.
1.38 million – the number of suicide attempts in the U.S. in 2019.
69.38% – the percentage of white males who accounted for suicide deaths in 2019.
50.39% – the percentage of all suicides by firearms.
Warning signs include:
- Often talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.
- Making comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless.
- Expressions of having no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life; saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out.”
- Increased alcohol and/or drug misuse.
- Withdrawal from friends, family and community.
- Reckless behavior or more risky activities, seemingly without thinking.
- Dramatic mood changes.
- Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others.
If someone indicates they are considering suicide, listen and take their concerns seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their plans. Let them know you care, and they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help immediately from a knowledgeable professional. Don’t leave them alone.
Five tips from CDC for what you can do if you’re concerned about a friend or loved one:
- Ask someone you are worried about if they’re thinking about suicide. (While people may be hesitant to ask, research shows this is helpful.)
- Keep them safe. Reduce access to lethal means for those at risk.
- Be there with them. Listen to what they need.
- Help them connect with ongoing support.
- Stay connected. Follow up to see how they’re doing.