| By Tracie Moy |
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and suicide rates have increased by more than 25% in the last two decades1. Acknowledging for every suicide there are 25 attempts that aren’t fatal, you realize the extent of our current mental health crisis. Suicide awareness and prevention are not just domestic issues. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 800,000 people worldwide die from suicide each year, which is one person every 40 seconds.2
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention notes depression as the most common condition associated with suicide. Too often, depression goes undiagnosed, but depression isn’t a solitary cause. If you believe someone is at risk for suicide, please have the courage to reach out and offer support.
Human nature is to connect and to feel and people have the power to change people. We must be aware of how exquisitely delicate we are. Be a friend, help a neighbor. Learn how powerful it is to listen and observe. Engage in conversation and allow people to tell their stories. Smile at a stranger and offer a compliment. Make eye contact and a phone call! We must keep our eyes and ears open and notice those around us. Ignoring the signs of people who feel suffering isn’t an option.
The discussion and importance of suicide awareness and prevention, along with mental health, need to stay a vital part of the worldwide conversation as suicide and attempted suicide are major public health challenges. A portal in Science In Context was created to support the ongoing effort for education.
For more information on suicide awareness, identifying risk factors, and how to help, please see the entry on suicide awareness in Science In Context.
Health and Wellness Resource Center also has a portal page discussing the medical aspects of suicide.
And a portal on teen suicide in Opposing Viewpoints In Context.
For more resources on teen health and awareness, learn more about Cameron’s Collection; a collection of 30-plus eBooks that support teen mental health and wellness.
Continuous efforts to collaborate, offer care, support communities, and provide resources save lives every day. Be kind, love people for who they are, and together we can make a difference in the fight to end suicide.