September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which is a time to pay attention to the warning signs of a suicidal individual. Some of the signs are: talking about or preoccupation with death, hopelessness, withdrawn behavior, or self-destructive behavior. But not all suicidal individuals display this behavior, and it can be hard to assess whether or not someone is struggling with suicidal ideation.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Those between the ages of 10 and 34 represent the second leading cause of death by suicide. Additionally, individuals ages 35-54 account for the fourth leading cause of death by suicide.
To compound the problem, the 2019 novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has added additional mental health issues ranging from anxiety to substance abuse. The effects of COVID-19 have left many people isolated, domestic violence/abuse, drugs, unemployment, homelessness, and mental suffering which increases suicidal behavior and ideation.
There are many resources available for those struggling. The following resources are available to those in need, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a number of Crisis Lines to contact, and Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides individuals and their families with resources, programs, and approaches to preventing suicide.
September is not the only month to recognize those who have been lost to suicide. A continued effort by family, friends, and clinicians can help contribute to the decrease of lives lost by suicide. Already known as a public health concern, it is vital to continue to do more research and find ways to help those in need. During June 2020 alone, it was reported that younger adults were struggling more with their mental health conditions leading to increased substance abuse and elevated suicide risk (Czeisler, et. al, 2020). Better intervention efforts and prevention are key to address suicidal ideation leading to a better outcome for those struggling.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide ideation, you are not alone, resources and help is available.