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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Be the one to start a conversation, save a life

“We can all play a role in preventing suicide. If you know someone who is hurting, reach out, ask questions and offer support. You do not have to be an expert. Be there to listen and show you care – it can make a world of difference.”
– Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2000 and 2021, suicide rates in the U.S. increased approximately 36%. In 2021 alone, more than 48,000 people died by suicide, with an average of one person taking their own life every 11 minutes.

During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is joining other organizations in spreading the word about actions we can all take to provide help, healing and hope to those who are struggling.

“Be the one to start a conversation,” said Dr. Graham. “When it comes to asking questions, avoid using technical language or jargon, such as, ‘Are you experiencing suicidal ideations?’ Or, ‘Are you depressed?’ Instead, ask the person to rate their mood or thoughts of self-harm on a scale of 1 to 10. This speaks to the actual emotion or behavior, and provides you with a sense of the intensity of those thoughts. Schedule time to check in on the person on a regularly basis. Whether you call them first thing every morning, or a few times a week after work, consistency is key, and will allow you to detect changes in their mood or behavior.”

Supporting LGBTQ individuals

While suicide can affect anyone, some populations have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than others. A 2023 survey from the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, found that 41% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

“LGBTQ individuals experience a higher risk of suicide, not because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, but because of the stigmatization and mistreatment they experience in their daily lives,” Dr. Graham explained. “The best way to counteract this is to ensure we are providing inclusive spaces where LGBTQ individuals feel safe, seen and heard. The Trevor Project’s 2023 survey also found that having at least one supportive person in the lives of LGBTQ youth reduced their risk of suicide by 40%. Creating safe spaces in our schools and communities is critical to saving lives.”

In crisis? Call or text 988

If you, or someone you know, is in distress, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.

988 is free, confidential and available 24/7.

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.

Dr. Graham noted, “Remember, suicide is not inevitable. Reaching out to a family member, friend or doctor can help you take positive action and turn feelings of hopelessness into hopefulness.”

Learn more about our specialty mental health programs and services.

  

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