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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Breaking the silence 

Suicide can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.  

According to the American Association of Suicidology, more than 47,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide in 2017, with an average of one person taking his or her own life every 11.1 minutes.  

We can all help prevent this tragic loss of life. Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health joins other individuals and organizations to promote awareness and combat the stigma associated with suicide. 

In September, Devereux recognizes the following observances:   

  • September: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
  • September 8–14: National Suicide Prevention Week
  • September 10: World Suicide Prevention Day  

“Talking openly about suicide and mental health eliminates the stigma that prevents many individuals from asking for help,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “We must continue this conversation – not only during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but all year long – so those in crisis are not afraid or ashamed to seek the services and support they need. No one should suffer in silence.”

Growing problem among young people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that suicide rates in the United States have increased by 30 percent since 1999. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34. 

In addition, data from the CDC’s 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows that 17.2 percent of high school students “seriously considered attempting suicide,” and 13.6 percent of high school students made a plan for how they would attempt suicide.

“These numbers are staggering. And social media only adds to the stress that younger generations experience today,” Graham explained. “Bullying has turned into cyberbullying, and individuals are emboldened because of the relative anonymity of the internet. A high schooler recently told me that you could feel popular and accepted at 10 a.m., and then someone could tweet something about you by 12 p.m. that could ruin the rest of your high school life. While many schools have developed anti-bullying campaigns – we must do more. The lives of our children are at stake.”

Know the warning signs

The CDC states that a combination of factors – relationship problems or loss, substance misuse, physical health problems, and job, money, legal or housing stress – contribute to the risk of suicide. Warning signs include:

  • Talking or writing about wanting to die
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in sleeping habits 

Suicide prevention resources

If you are in crisis – know that you are not alone. Reach out to a family member, friend or doctor, or take advantage of the following resources:  

Devereux’s specialty mental health services

Devereux has a history of helping individuals and families in need of hope and healing.  

We provide innovative programs and services for children, adolescents and adults with emotional and behavioral disorders in community and residential settings. Diagnoses served include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychotic disorders and disruptive behavior disorders.  

Learn more about our specialty mental health programs and services.

 

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