September is National Suicide Prevention Month
Suicide is a global public health concern, and its impact extends far beyond the individuals directly affected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 800,000 people die by suicide each year, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the United States alone, suicide claims the lives of over 48,000 people annually, and for each completed suicide, many more individuals attempt to take their own lives.
Overall, in Olmsted County, suicide is the seventh leading cause of death (1.5%). According to Minnesota Department of Health Vital Statistics, between 2012 to 2018, the number deaths resulting from suicide ranged between 10-25 deaths per year with the peak of 25 deaths being in 2018. The leading causes of death among young adults continues to be unintentional injuries (i.e. car accidents) and suicides; these two causes attribute to over 49% of all deaths among 25 to 44 year-olds. While suicide is a leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults, the majority of deaths due to suicide are middle-aged Olmsted County residents.
National Suicide Prevention Month is a critical opportunity to shed light on this pressing issue. By raising awareness, we can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges and encourage individuals to seek help when they need it. Awareness campaigns and educational events held throughout September can help inform the public about the warning signs of suicide, available resources, and the importance of open and compassionate conversations about mental health.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
- Knowing how to recognize the warning signs of suicide is a crucial step in preventing it. Some common signs include:
- Expressing thoughts of hopelessness or despair.
- Withdrawing from social activities and isolating oneself.
- Giving away possessions or making final arrangements.
- Increased substance abuse.
- Sudden and severe mood swings.
- Drastic changes in behavior or appearance.
- Talking about feeling like a burden to others.
If you notice any of these signs in a friend, family member, or even yourself, it's essential to take them seriously and seek help immediately.
One of the most powerful tools we have in preventing suicide is open and honest communication. Encourage conversations about mental health within your community and circle of friends and family. By breaking the silence, we can create a supportive environment where people feel safe sharing their struggles and seeking help without judgment.
For immediate help
If you're feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of not wanting to live or you're having urges to attempt suicide, get help now.
Call a suicide hotline.
- In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.
- If you’re a U.S. veteran or service member in crisis, call 988 and then press 1, or text 838255. Or chat using veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/chat/.
- The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454.
Call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately.