Suicide claims the life of over 38,000 Americans yearly and is the tenth leading cause of death in the US across all ages. Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, and World Suicide Prevention Day is observed annually on Sept. 10. This is a great time and opportunity to get educated and promote worldwide suicide prevention. The organization leading the fight against suicide through education programs, research funding, promoting awareness, and providing resources for suicide survivors is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Among the suicide statistics reported by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is the estimation of one suicide for every 25 suicide attempts.
These statistics can be slashed by knowing and understanding, the risk factors of suicide, as well as the warning signs an individual may display, that can save lives. The efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide include raising awareness of these factors and signs.
Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life. The more risk factors, the higher the risk.
Risk factors include: Mental health conditions Substance abuse disorders; Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain; Prolonged stress factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment; Stressful life events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss; family history of suicide; Family history of mental health conditions; previous suicide attempts, or childhood abuse.
People who kill themselves exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk.
If a person talks about: Killing themselves; Having no reason to live; Being a burden to others; Feeling trapped; or Unbearable pain.
A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change. Behavior could include: Increased use of alcohol or drugs; Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means; Acting recklessly; Withdrawing from activities; Isolating from family and friends; Sleeping too much or too little; Visiting or calling people to say goodbye; Giving away prized possessions; or Aggression.
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: Depression; Loss of interest; Rage; Irritability; Humiliation; and Anxiety.
Everyday matters for those at risk of suicide. Through education, awareness, and intervention, prevention is possible.
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