National Suicide Prevention Week 2015

Sponsored by American Association of Suicidology, National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) strives to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide by informing and engaging around the topic of suicide prevention, encouraging mental health treatment, and educating on warning signs and risk factors of suicide.

With their mission being "advancing mental health, overcoming mental illness, and eliminating stigma", the APF feels that supporting NSPW helps us achieve our vision of creating a mentally healthy nation. Studies show that 90%, if not more, of those who die by suicide had a mental disorder at the time of their death, though it is often unrecognized, undiagnosed, or untreated (or potentially under-treated).

About Suicide

Suicide is a major public health concern. More than 36,000 individuals die by suicide each year, in the US alone. If you do the math, that's approximately 100 deaths per day or about four deaths per hour. Extrapolated across the world, those estimates jump drastically, to an estimated one million individuals dying each year by suicide, translating to one death every 40 seconds.

It seems like such an overwhelming, and tragic problem. And it is. But you can be part of the solution.

The first step is to know the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. There are many organizations that list risk factors and warning signs of mental illness: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Association of Suicidology, SAVE, WebMD, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, among others.  

Key warning signs on each of these lists include statements of wanting to die, expressions of feelings of hopelessness or having no reasons to live, making arrangements for end of life, and social isolation.

The second step is to know what to do if you see these warning signs. Though you should take the time to read the more detailed lists at each of these links, keep in mind the following: be direct and create a safe, non-judgmental space for an open dialogue; do not leave a person threatening suicide or making specific plans for suicide alone; encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional (take the person to the emergency room, or call 911 if an immediate threat is present); call or visit the website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get assistance for yourself, or for helping another; ask non-judgmental and non-confrontational questions; take the person's thoughts, actions, and emotions seriously and let them know you are concerned about them.

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