World Suicide Prevention Day is approaching Sept. 10 but we should spend every day trying to prevent suicide in all forms.
Actor Robin Williams, Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, NFL linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide and the list goes on. It doesn’t even begin to approach the everyday problem the United States has with people ending their own life.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and 47,173 Americans die by suicide each year. In Alabama, one person dies by suicide every 11 hours. It is also the third leading cause of death for individuals ages 15 to 24 in the state.
We point this out because we all need to be able to identify risk factors for suicide.
Some of the major ones are alcoholism or substance use disorders, hopelessness, impulsive or aggressive tendencies or a history of trauma and abuse.
Additionally, we need to know the warning signs: peers and loved ones talking about killing themselves, talking about being trapped or in unbearable pain or talking about being a burden to others.
Several more risk factors and warning signs can be found at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Just understanding the issues concerning suicide can play an essential role in helping individuals who are struggling. Sometimes talking about the problems can help; other times reducing that person’s access to self-harming materials may be necessary.
The overarching theme here is we all have to be aware of what to do when somebody is crying out for help, and we need to be able to provide such support, even if it’s just having a conversation.