Suicidal thoughts are often the result of an untreated mental health condition, but they can affect anyone. According to NAMI, suicide is the 10th leading cause of deaths for adults in the United States. To help decrease this statistic, it is important to talk about suicide prevention. By raising awareness, showing support, and providing resources, we can help prevent suicide.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
988 or call 911 immediately.
Mental Health by the Numbers
For those struggling with a mental illness, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness each year. It is important to understand the prevalence of mental health conditions, and the suicidal thoughts that might follow.
The following statistics on mental illness have been found by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
- 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience mental illness each year
- 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2020
- 11% of U.S. adults with mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2020
- 150 million people live in a designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area
- 12+ million U.S adults had serious thoughts of suicide (2020)
- Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S (when looking at all ages)
Warning signs that someone may be at immediate risk for attempting suicide include, but are not limited to:
- Often talking or thinking about death
- Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves
- Feeling intense emotional or physical pain
- Withdrawing from friends and/or family
- Taking extreme risks, such as driving extremely fast or recklessly
- Talking about feeling empty and/or hopeless
- Giving away important processions or creating a will
- Saying goodbye to friends and/or family
Other serious warning signs that someone may be at risk for attempting suicide include, but are not limited to:
- Rapid, extreme mood changes
- Researching methods of killing themselves
- Consuming alcohol often or abusing other substances
- Acting anxious or on edge
- Talking about feelings of guilt or shame
People of all ages, gender, and background can be at risk of suicide. There is no single cause of suicidal behavior. Although the risk factors vary, they commonly include:
- Family history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Depression or other mental disorders
- Chronic pain
- Individual history of suicide attempts, or attempts of family members
- Exposure to abuse, including physical and emotional
- Presence of firearms in the home
Supporting Those in a Crisis
It is common for family and friends to have trouble supporting an individual in a crisis. This is commonly due to a lack of understanding, and lack of preparedness. Although the behaviors of those in a crisis may be unpredictable, there are ways to help support a loved one in a crisis.
- Professional help is likely necessary to help someone in a crisis. Family members should contact the individual’s healthcare provider, or call 911 if in immediate danger.
- Create an open dialogue, and don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Show support and concern
- Be patient
- Do not argue or raise your voice
- Remove any firearms from the home
If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:
- Call 911
- Go to the nearest emergency room
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988
Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES
- To learn more about suicide and suicide prevention, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
- To read more about suicide prevention, the following resources are suggested:
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