CDC says that, “In 2019, 12 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide”. According to the American Psychiatric Association, suicide is, “The 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death (after accidents) for people aged 10 to 34”. Additionally, they report that in 2019, 47K+ people died by suicide in the United States. In 2020, NPR went into depth about a study conducted by the CDC, reporting that in 2020, around 46K people died by suicide. Despite the pandemic leading to mass isolation, this means that there was a decline in suicide in 2020. Though there was a small decline in suicide, 46K people still died. One person dying by suicide is too much. This is a gargantuan issue.
The American Psychiatric Association lists several risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors. Before listing these factors and signs, it is important to define these.
Retrieved from The Suicide Prevention Resource Center
“Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that an individual will consider, attempt or die by suicide. Warning signs indicate an immediate risk of suicide. Protective factors are characteristics that make it less likely that individuals will consider, attempt or die by suicide.”
Retrieved from the American Psychiatric Association (Psychiatry.org)
What can we do? First, don’t be afraid to have “the talk”. Asking someone if they are suicidal and having those thoughts does not plant those thoughts or harm them in any way. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has an incredibly insightful article on how to have the conversation: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/September-2019/How-to-Ask-Someone-About-Suicide.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) talks about the 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
24/7 Crisis Counselor – Text HOME to 741741
Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates is a St Louis mental health therapy practice in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The practice has a team of mental health therapists who provide therapy and counseling services to kids, teens, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, and other mental health related issues and concerns.
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