By Ali Mariani
Suicide is a national epidemic. It has touched everyone in some way or another. Whether or not we want to acknowledge it as an epidemic, does not make it any less real. Some noteworthy statistics taken from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) are:
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
For every single completed suicide, 25 individuals attempt it.
Firearms account for almost 50% of suicides.
On average, there are 117 suicides per day.
Here’s the thing: Suicide is preventable. I am not saying we have the power to save every single person, but suicide as a national epidemic, IS preventable.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. It’s a week to recognize prevention efforts and pay closer attention to suicide prevention.
You don’t have to be a hero to participate in suicide prevention; there are so many things you can do to help prevent suicide.
- Ask a friend how they are doing today. Being an open ear for friends can be very powerful.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Get to know your neighbors and the people you work with. Get to know their “normals/baselines” and be aware when they are acting differently (Kevin Hines was crying on the Golden Gate Bridge for quite a while before he attempted suicide and nobody asked him how he was doing).
- Volunteer for an organization that aims to reduce suicide. Some organizations include AFSP, The Trevor Project, Take 5 to Save Lives, and To Write Love on Her Arms.
- Volunteer or participate in your local Out of Darkness Walk to benefit Suicide Prevention. http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.page&id=1196&eventGroupID=9AA117B3-F522-BB6D-359D1AA2D75A7958
- Seek self-care or professional help for yourself if you think you need it.
- Plan a community mental health screening at your campus, school, or community space.
- Attend a Mental Health First Aid Training or Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to learn more about the signs and symptoms of suicide. Here are a list of local trainings in the area: http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/
- Become trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) for Suicide Prevention!
Also, AFSP gives a really great list of ways you can take action here: https://afsp.org/take-action/
Other websites and helpful resources include: