Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, there are on average 130 suicides per day in the U.S., according to the latest numbers released by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that attempted suicides are on the rise during the pandemic, especially among teen girls, increasing nearly 50% when compared to 2019.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month and we are shining a light on suicide prevention to help parents begin important conversations about the warning signs and what to do if you or a family member are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
- The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
- 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition. Research shows that 90% experienced symptoms.
- 11.8% of young adults aged 18-25 experience serious thoughts of suicide. 18.8% of high school students and 46.8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students experience serious thoughts of suicide.
- Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
- Transgender adults are nearly 12x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
Qtopia, a local nonprofit working to create a multicultural community center for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, put together these tips to help recognize the warning signs of suicide, what to do if you think someone you know is at risk and how to approach a crisis situation.
Know the warning signs:
- Talk about wanting to die or kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Talking about having no reason to live
- Feeling trapped
- Talking about unbearable pain
- Feeling like a burden to others
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
What to do if you think someone you know is at risk:
Step one: Question – “Are you thinking about suicide?”
Step two: Act
At school? Tell a teacher or go to the office.
At home? Tell a parent or trusted adult.
Alone? Contact emergency support. The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 800-273-8255 or locally call or text Heartline by dailing 2-1-1 or texting your zip code to 898-211. Heartline’s Youth Crisis Mobile Response line is available 24/7 at 833-885-CARE.
How to approach a crisis situation:
- Remain calm and talk openly and honestly
- Ask simple, direct questions
- Express concern & support
- Do not rush to judgment, argue, threaten or raise your voice
- Do not interrupt