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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Providing help, healing and hope

While suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, with the right support, it can be prevented.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 46,000 Americans died by suicide in 2020, with an average of one person taking their own life every 11 minutes.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health wants to highlight the importance of knowing the warning signs and how to get help for yourself or a loved one.

“Suicide prevention starts with each and every one of us,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “If you know someone who is struggling emotionally, or having a hard time coping with something in their life, start a conversation. Phrases like, ‘I care about you,’ ‘I know this is a challenging time, but I’m here for you,’ or ‘Tell me how you feel,’ can have an impact. Trust your instincts. If someone says they are OK, but they do not seem OK, keep trying to connect. You could change a life.”

Know the warning signs

The CDC states that in 2020, an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt and 1.2 million attempted suicide.

While suicide can affect anyone, some groups have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than others. A 2022 survey from the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking or writing about wanting to die
  • Threatening suicide or self-harm
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Reckless or aggressive behavior
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sudden joy after a prolonged period of depression

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

In 2022, the U.S. launched a new, three-digit hotline for those experiencing a mental health crisis. How it works: If you, or someone you know, is in distress, call or text 988, or chat 988lifeline.org to be connected with a trained counselor from the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.) The hotline is designed to provide 24/7, free and confidential emotional support. Note: The previous Lifeline phone number – 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) – will continue to be available to those in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.

Devereux’s specialty mental health services

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

We provide innovative programs and services for children, adolescents and adults with emotional and behavioral disorders in community and residential settings. Diagnoses served include (but are not limited to): anxiety disorders, autism and other developmental disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychotic disorders and disruptive behavior disorders.

Graham noted, “Remember, if you are hurting, it is OK to ask for help. You do not have to struggle alone. Reaching out to a family member, friend or doctor, and talking openly about the challenges you are facing, can help put you on a path to healing.”

Learn more about our specialty mental health programs and services.

 

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