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National Suicide Awareness Month is a time to open up the conversation about suicide and mental health. For too long, suicide has been a taboo topic, shrouded in secrecy and stigma. But the reality is that suicide is a very real threat.

Every day, 123 Americans take their own lives. Currently, suicide as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, the second leading for ages 24-35 and the third for ages 15-25[1]. Suicidal thoughts can plague anyone regardless of age, gender, or social status.

Here are a few additional facts regarding suicide[2]:

79% of all people who die by suicide are male.

Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are 4x more likely to die by suicide.

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.

46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition - but research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 46,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2020, which is about one death every 11 minutes. Worldwide, nearly 800,000 people die from suicide yearly, and in 2020, there were 1.2 million attempts globally. As you can see, suicide is a major public health issue that needs to be addressed.

In addition, suicide and suicide attempts cause serious emotional, physical, and economic impacts. For the people who attempt suicide and survive may experience serious injuries that can have long-term effects on their health. For their friends, loved ones, co-workers, and the community, losing someone (or coming close to it) can result in shock, anger, and guilt followed by symptoms of depression and anxiety[3].

One of the biggest myths about suicide is that talking about it will prompt someone to attempt it. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, one of the best things you can do for someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts is to talk to them openly and honestly about it. This shows them that you are there for them and that they are not alone. Reaching out to someone is important especially because many people suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts can cover them up quite well. Someone close to you may be hurting silently and you may never know it.

But even in the darkness, there is a glimmer of hope and good news: more than 90% of people who attempt suicide and survive never go on to die by suicide[4] and this doesn’t even include the number of suicide attempts never attempted. This is why it is so important for you and anyone else you know the support they need to find joy and the will to live again.

While there is no foolproof indicator of suicidal tendencies, here are some signs to look out for:

1. Dramatic changes in behavior like selling of possessions, an increase in isolation, the loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, and the rapid decline in grades and/or work performance.

2. Speaking of hopelessness and helplessness often.

3. Mention of thoughts such as, “the world will be better off if I am not here” or “I just want the pain to stop” or “I just want to die” or “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”

4. Feeling like there is nothing left to live for and cannot think about positive encounters in the future.

5. Not wanting to commit to any future plans and vague about why.

6. Experiencing an increase or decrease in sleeping.

7. Noticing an increase in risky behaviors such as reckless driving or substance abuse.

If you or anyone else you know is exhibiting any of the signs above, please seek help immediately. You can reach out to me or any other mental health professional. If you’re in a crises, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text and chat by visiting their website at

Together, we can have the important conversations we need to save as many lives as possible.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

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