#YouAreNotAlone Suicide prevention becomes important topic this month as incidents are on the rise
1 person dies from suicide every 13 minutes exceeding rate of homicide and AIDS combined and exceeds automobile accidents
November 2, 2015, – #YouAreNotAlone. It’s that simple to share on social media this month. Suicide touches all ages and backgrounds, all racial and ethnic groups, in all parts of the country. It is a serious public health problem that causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors, such as mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, exposure to violence, and social isolation. Suicide prevention efforts seek to:
• Reduce factors that increase the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors
• Increase the factors that help strengthen, support, and protect individuals from suicide
Ideally, these efforts address individual, relationship, community, and societal factors while promoting hope, easing access into effective treatment, encouraging connectedness, and supporting recovery.
Nearly 40,000 people in the United States die from suicide annually, or 1 person every 13 minutes. This exceeds the rate of death from homicide and AIDS combined. More people die by suicide than from automobile accidents.
The suicide rate has been rising over the past decade, with much of the increase driven by suicides in mid-life, where the majority of all suicides in the United States now occur. From 1999 to 2013, the age-adjusted suicide rate for all ages in the United States increased (10.5% to 13.5%). Half of these deaths occur by use of a firearm.
Of all the death attributed to suicide in 2013, 78% of those are male. In 2013, the latest year for which data is available, the highest number of suicides among both men and women occurred among those aged 45 to 54. The highest rates of suicides occurred among men aged 75 and up and among women aged 45 to 54. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24 and for those aged 25 to 34.
Suicidal thoughts are also a significant concern. Having serious thoughts of suicide increases the risk of a person making an actual suicide attempt. There are more than 25 attempted suicides for each suicide death. In 2014, an estimated 9.4 million adults (3.9%) aged 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.
A report on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Adults from the 2014 NSDUH report (PDF | 3.4 MB)showed that the percentage was highest among people aged 18 to 25, followed by people aged 26 to 49, then by people aged 50 or older. Among high school students, more than 17% (approximately 2.5 million ninth through twelfth graders) have seriously considered suicide, more than 13% have made a suicide plan, and more than 8% have attempted suicide.
“Alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders as the most frequent risk factors for suicide,” says Daphne Lampley of the LiveFree! Coalition, a non-profit serving Tampa Bay to end substance abuse and other risks. “We must proactively work on educating the community about suicide prevention and help avoid tragic loss of loved ones.”
That’s why LiveFree! is encouraging the community to share #YouAreNotAlone during the month of November on social media posts.
Also, fortunately there is strong evidence that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates. Released by the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention(link is external) in 2012, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is intended to guide suicide prevention actions in the United States over the next decade. The strategy provides guidance for schools, businesses, health systems, clinicians, and others, and emphasizes the role every American can play(link is external) in protecting their friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide.
SAMHSA and the LiveFree! Coalition is a proud partner of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (link is external)a public-private partnership with more than 200 participating organizations advancing the national strategy for suicide prevention. SAMHSA funds the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to act as Executive Secretariat to the Action Alliance.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(link is external) 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior
These signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change:
• Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
• 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
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit our website at www.pinellascoalition.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.