What if you’re afraid that someone you love is considering it? What do you say? How do you start that
conversation? Should you say anything? Silence is no longer an option; it’s time to talk about it. For
those of us who have lost a loved one to suicide we know how devastating it is. It’s time to talk about it.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Today, September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day
Please hear what I’m saying…It’s TIME to start talking about it!
Some facts on suicide rates gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages (CDC)
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years (WHO)
- Every day, approximately 130 Americans die by suicide (CDC)
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 11 minutes (CDC)
- Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year (WHO)
- Someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds worldwide (WHO)
- Suicide among males is four times higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all
- Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (CDC)
- Females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males (CDC)
- Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females (CDC)
There are an estimated 25 suicide attempts for every one suicide. (CDC)
Signs of Suicide
What are the signs of suicide? What does someone look for and, more importantly, what can someone
do if they fear a loved one is in danger of committing suicide?
Signs of suicide vary from person to person, people are just different. But with research, trends begin to emerge. The most common signs as listed by the King County suicide prevention page are:
- A previous suicide attempt
- Current talk of suicide or making a plan
- Strong wish to die or preoccupation with death
- Giving away prized possessions
- Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, and withdrawal
- Increased alcohol and/or drug use
- Hinting at not being around in the future or saying goodbye
- Experiences drastic changes in behavior
So, what can you do? Say something, speak up if you’re worried. Talk to them about what you’re seeing
in them and tell them you’re worried. Be yourself, listen to them if they’re willing to talk, be sympathetic and non-judgmental. Stay connected to them, check in with them often, let them know that they’re not alone.
Respond quickly in a crisis. Most people who are seriously considering suicide have a specific plan, the
means to carry out the plan, a time set for doing it, and an intention to do it. If you learn of this it’s time
to seek professional help. There are lots of resources out there to help you.
You Might Also Like: The Option to Stop; The Decision to Keep Going
Suicide Prevention Resources
Here are a few local resources: from the King and Pierce County websites:
- Crisis connections – 24 hours, toll-free hotline provides immediate, confidential assistance to
people in distress in the King County area 1-866-4-CRISIS (1-866-427-4747) or 206-461-3222
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Pierce County Crisis Line – 1(800) 576-7764
- National suicide prevention lifeline – 24 hours toll-free hotline that provides support for anyone
in a suicidal crisis 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 in the US
- Veterans crisis line – 1-800-273-8255 (then press 1)
- The TrevorLifeline – 1-866-488-7386
- Additional numbers and resources: https://auburnexaminer.com/crisis-resources/
Calling 911 is another option if you feel that your loved one is in immediate danger. Police officers have
the statutory authority to have someone taken to a local Emergency Room to be evaluated. This decision is based on whether there is a credible threat that the person might harm themselves. Ultimately
the County Designated Mental Health Professional (CDMHP) makes the decision whether or not a
person needs to be held involuntarily because they are a danger to themselves. This is the last line of
defense, and while no one wants it to come to that – what is your loved ones life worth?
Let’s start talking about suicide prevention. If you feel like your loved one is contemplating suicide,
reach out to them and to others for help, use the resources. If you yourself are contemplating suicide,
please ask for help, there’s no shame in it. It takes a strong person to take that help.
No one fights alone.
Mayor Nancy Backus’ 2021 Suicide Prevention Day proclamation