30 September 2022 | Written By Delaney Wickert
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, or SPAM, is recognized during the month of September. Suicide is an important topic to keep in mind throughout the entire year, however, SPAM allows us the opportunity to open the floor to have important conversations regarding mental health. In an effort to erase the stigma regarding talking about suicide, it is important to recognize and discuss topics regarding mental health. Suicide often results from undiagnosed mental health conditions. Suicide impacts all demographics including various ages, genders, and ethnicities. In promoting SPAM, we are able to share facts regarding the rate of suicide in the U.S, and offer information to help educate individuals about the topic and warning signs, as well as provide support through HDI’s resources.
Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. It is important to highlight the disproportion in the demographic groups effected by suicide rates. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 45% of LGBTQ in the U.S youth have experienced suicidal thoughts throughout the year. Additionally, adults who identify as transgender are almost nine times as likely to attempt suicide than those who do not.
Being able to recognize the signs of individuals who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts could be crucial in saving the life of someone you know. Some of these signs include:
- Impulsive behaviors or being more irritated than usual
- Not functioning like their usual selves
- Talking about feelings of loneliness or despair
- Excessive worry
- Trouble concentrating
- Substance misuse
Factors such as substance use issues, mental health conditions, excessive stress, or recent tragedy can also contribute to suicidal thought or actions.
Resources are available through HDI, such as the mental health project, Merge. Merge works to create improvements in and provide person-centered mental health services for those with mental health, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
As of July 2022, 988 is now the 3-digit phone number for the suicide and mental health crisis hotline. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call or text 988 to be connected with a crisis counselor.
As September comes to a close, keep in mind the risk factors, facts, and resources, regarding mental health in order to spread awareness and promote the well-being of the community.