September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it’s always an important topic of discussion in many families, including my own.
Suicidal thoughts range from wishing you were no longer around to actively thinking everyone would be better off if you were not alive. These types of thoughts can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status or background. Suicide itself can sometime work like a tree, branching out to many others, forever affecting the lives of many.
Nobody is exempt from its damage and that is why its so important to understand the basics of prevention.
Prevention includes simply knowing the signs and being apprised of the resources available.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great resource itself as they have several resources available for suicide as well as many other mental disorders/illnesses. These include crisis resources such as the number for the National Suicide Hotline as well as the Crisis Text Line and awareness resources such as common tags to use when posting about awareness and various graphics to use to show your support for suicide awareness. Another great resource offered is the common warning signs to look out for, which include increased drug/alcohol use, aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, dramatic mood swings, impulsive behavior and/or recklessness.
It is important to note that suicidal behaviors are an emergency and should be treated as such. If you or a loved one starts to take any of the following steps, seek immediate help from a health care provider or call 911:
Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
Giving away possessions
Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
Saying goodbye to friends and family
An additional thing to think about is the statistics of suicide as knowledge is a great first step in prevention.
According to NAMI, 78% of all suicides are done by males. This is a mind-numbing figure but add to it that more women than men attempt suicide, and it makes it even more mind-boggling. This means more men are successful, in fact men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide.
Another rather peculiar statistic is that nearly 46% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental condition, whereas 90% have experienced symptoms of a mental condition.
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the warning signs or just need someone to talk to, there are resources available both on campus and online.
559-638-0300 [ext. 3210]
You can also text NAMI or HOME to 741-741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line or call 1-800-273 TALK (8255) to connect to the National Suicide Hotline.
“Risk of Suicide.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Alliance on
Mental Illness, 2022, https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-
“Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (SPAM).” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental
Illness, National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2022, https://www.nami.org/Get-