There are an average of 123 suicides each day in the United States. It’s a topic that people are afraid to talk about, but research shows that raising awareness helps in the fight against it. The stigma around suicide, and mental health itself, is slowly being eroded over time, but we still have a long way to go.

Understanding the facts about suicide, knowing the risks and warning signs, and having open and honest conversations could help save someone’s life. Awareness around suicide and how it can be prevented are observed on National Suicide Prevention Month every September. The goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the resources needed to discuss suicide prevention and seek help if needed.

mental health

Know the risk factors

Suicide doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of all ages, genders, and social statuses. It is commonly linked to depression, and many people who have suicidal ideations don’t always voice their intent. Knowing the risk factors is an essential element in suicide prevention efforts. The highest risk factor is a previous suicide attempt, but there are other significant factors such as:

  • A history of mood disorder

  • Access firearms or prescription meds

  • Death of a loved one

  • Break-up of a marriage or relationship

  • History of a traumatic experience

  • A chronic, painful illness

Despite previous mental health issues being a known risk factor, the CDC states that 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition.

Dispelling the myths about suicide

One of the most significant ways to prevent suicide and create awareness is to bring facts. Along with the stigma, there are also a lot of myths. One of the biggest myths is believing that talking about suicide will encourage it. In reality, the opposite is true.

Opening up a conversation about suicide allows a person to share their story and ultimately get the help they need. It’s important to talk about it, to raise awareness, and stop the stigma.

Another myth about suicide is that nothing can be done to prevent it once someone has decided to end their life. If a person can get help managing those suicidal thoughts, the suicidal ideation will dissipate in time. Those thoughts come more often for some people who suffer from severe depression, which is why it’s essential to be proactive about seeking treatment to maintain psychological health.

Recognize the warning signs

Many people tend to believe that suicide happens without warning when there are usually clear signs. This is why it is imperative to learn the warning signs to help prevent suicide, which includes:

  • Frequent and dramatic mood swings

  • Withdrawal and isolation

  • Aggressive behavior which may seem out of character

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Increased substance use

  • Giving away their belongings

  • Stashing pills or buying a weapon such as a firearm

  • Saying goodbye to family and friends

If you’re concerned that someone in your life may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s vital to address it quickly and head-on. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves or contemplating suicide. In many cases, people are often relieved that the question has been asked, and they can open up and talk about it.

Encourage them to get help. If you are looking for mental health services in California, contact Serene Health. We offer appointments seven days a week from our Telehealth platform. Call us at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment.