Suicidal thoughts may extend beyond abstract ideas or feeling as though people would be better off without you.
One may feel overwhelmed by life and sometimes those notions lead to suicidal ideations or even making clear plans to end their life. These thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background.
That said, while all populations are at risk for suicidal thoughts, certain groups have substantially higher rates of suicide than the general population, particularly our Veterans.
According to 2019 statistics, of more than 130 suicides that occur each day, at least 17 of those are veterans (roughly 13%).
The rates of Veteran suicide are also regularly increasing at a greater rate relative to the rest of the country.
This is an urgent matter for all of us.
And, this is why we mark National Suicide Awareness Prevention Month each September (and Suicide Prevention Week, September 4 – September 10, 2022).
The month-long campaign encourages people to join together to advocate for better mental health care, as well as more accessible ways to navigate the mental health care system. This is the time to educate the nation on implementing strategies to create a lasting and profound difference in all of our lives. The goal is to prevent suicide, suicide attempts, and to provide resources for survivors of those lost.
To coincide with the awareness campaign in September, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is also releasing a new book, You Are Not Alone.
Written by Dr. Ken Duckworth with the expertise of a leading psychiatrist and the empathy of a family member affected by mental illness, this comprehensive guide includes stories from over 130 people who have been there — including people with mental illness and caregivers — and understand how challenging it can be to find the help you need, when you need it. Their stories are what makes this book different from your typical mental health guide.
The book covers how to get help, pathways to recovery, the intersection of culture and mental health, and many more important topics to guide any person’s mental health journey. NAMI’s hope is that this guide can help people find that key help and support sooner and make recovery more accessible to those trying to find it.
In July of 2022, to create greater ease and access to immediate help, 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code to automatically direct callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, provide support, and connect them to resources.
The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
By the Numbers:
· 79% of all people who die by suicide are male.
· Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
· Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
· The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
· 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition.
· While nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.
Annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide, by U.S. demographic group:
o 4.9% of all adults
o 11.3% of young adults aged 18-25
o 18.8% of high school students
o 45% of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students
The highest rates of suicide in the U.S. are among American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic white communities.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
Transgender adults are nearly 9x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people held in local jails.
We, at Veterans Victory, are committed to you and your mental health and well-being. Join us this month to spread the awareness of mental illness and create better resources for those struggling with suicidal ideation.
Resources: National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month-(SPAM)