From 2000-2018, suicide rates in the United States increased by 30%. Today, the CDC estimates that there is an average of one suicide death in the United States every 11 minutes. These are heartbreaking statistics that highlight just how far we still have to go when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention.
To help raise awareness about what can be done to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, September 10th has been designated as “world suicide prevention day“. At Bikham Healthcare, we are big believers in the mission of world suicide prevention day and want to ensure that all of your readers are aware of the resources available to them. That’s why we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss suicide prevention and the resources available for those who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Why Are Suicide Rates on the Rise?
There’s no single factor that we could point to in order to explain the rising suicide rates in the United States. Underdiagnosis of mental conditions, structural barriers to care, stereotypes and discrimination associated with mental health issues, and increased addiction and drug abuse rates are all potential answers and serious problems that the medical community needs to solve. Even still, though, the answer isn’t quite so black and white.
What we do know, though, is that no one turns to suicide as their first solution. Suicide is almost always a last resort even for those who are suffering terribly. That’s why it is so essential to reach out to those who are impacted by mental health issues and let them know that help is available.
Eliminating the stigma regarding mental health and mental health treatment is an important place to start and is one objective of world suicide prevention day. Even today, many people still feel ashamed to discuss mental health issues, as if their condition is somehow their own fault. As medical experts, we know that this is not true; the brain is an organ just like any other, and sometimes organs malfunction. The fact that so many people are embarrassed or ashamed to seek help for their mental health issues is one of the biggest reasons why suicide rates are so high and one of the biggest obstacles that the medical community needs to overcome.
The medical community can’t do it alone, and society at large needs to step in and help. It’s been said a thousand times before, but keep a close eye on your friends and family. Practice active listening, and be on the lookout for signs of a mental health crisis. If someone you know is exhibiting signs such as changes in mood, overuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs, changes in sleeping or eating habits, or avoiding friends and social activities, be sure to reach out and make sure that everything is okay. In so many cases, a listening ear and a willingness to help is all that it takes to pull someone back from the brink.
Resources for Those Who Are Struggling With Suicidal Thoughts
In 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish the number 988 as a nationwide dialing code for connecting people who are experiencing a mental health crisis with suicide prevention and mental health counselors. Along with dialing 988, you can also use the chat services at suicidepreventionlifeline.org to connect to a trained crisis counselor or get text support via the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741.
In the case of a severe mental health crisis where you feel that your life is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911. If you tell the police that you are suicidal, they will transport you to a medical facility for a mental health evaluation and treatment.
Lastly, you should always be willing to reach out to your friends and family. No matter who you are, there are people who care about you and people who are willing to help.