Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely cause by a single factor.  In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.  Other problems usually contribute to suicide such as:  relationships, substance use, physical health, job, money , legal or housing stress.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and are therefore considered a psychiatric emergency. Someone experiencing these thoughts should seek immediate assistance from a health or mental health care provider. Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.

Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.

One great resource is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), http://www.namicolorado.org/   and another is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Informational Resources

Crisis Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
  • You can also chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/