Suicide is a serious health issue that affects the lives of many people in Maryland, and across the United States. According to the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US and in Maryland, is the leading cause of death for youth and young adults aged 10-34. Many of us know someone – a friend, family member, or coworker – who has attempted suicide or died by suicide. It’s important to know you’re not alone, and that suicide is preventable.
National Suicide Prevention Week, an annual campaign to bring awareness, educate, and shed light on suicide prevention and the general warning signs of suicide, takes place from September 4th through the 10th . This week also aims to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and encourages individuals to explore mental health assistance. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that among all age groups, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, there were 45,979 deaths, which equates to one death every 11 minutes.
National Suicide Prevention Week is a time to educate yourself and your community about suicide prevention, reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions, and learn about available resources for treatment and emotional support.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide is vitally important. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shares these signs to look for that someone may be at risk of suicide or self-harm:
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
Although some groups in the United States are more at risk for various reasons, thoughts of suicide can touch any person. You can read more about those who are at greater risk for suicide here.
Observing Suicide Prevention Week can take many forms and shapes. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Educate yourself: take the time to read about suicide and the warning signs. Being proactive and learning about suicide will allow for continued conversations to take place and will also bring mental health to the forefront of our minds.
- Raise awareness: the more you talk about something, the less stigma there will be around it. By doing this, we are letting people know that it’s okay to reach out for help.
- Look out for others: looking out for others by checking for warning signs is crucial because most of the people suffering from poor mental health do not reach out for help. This happens because people may feel judged or misunderstood.
Help is available. If you are experiencing mental health or emotional distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support, contact the Here2Help line.
When you call HCAM’s Here2Help line, you will speak with compassionate and empathetic treatment coordinators who can connect you to behavioral health treatment services, information, and resources.
The Here2Help Hotline can be reached at 410-433-5175. In Baltimore, it can also be reached by calling the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. All calls are free, confidential and support is available 24/7.
988 is a new, three-digit nationwide phone number to connect directly with trained counselors across the United States.
SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK – September 4-10, 2022 – National Today
Facts About Suicide | Suicide | CDC
Help Prevent Suicide | SAMHSA
Suicide statistics | AFSP