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Suicide Prevention

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Panhandle Public Health District is recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We can all help prevent suicide. Every year, the Lifeline and other mental health organizations and individuals across the U.S. and around the world raise awareness of suicide prevention during September. This is a time to raise awareness on suicide, a topic that can be difficult to think and talk about. That’s why we use this month to spread hope and vital information to anyone affected by the tragedy of suicide. Our goal is to ensure that everyone living in the Panhandle has access to the tools, resources, and information needed to talk about preventing suicide and to seek help if needed.

Suicide is more common than you might think and affects all ages. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. It was responsible for more than 46,800 deaths in 2020, which is about one death every 11 minutes. The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. Every day 20 young people die by suicide in the United States. According to the National Institute on Mental Health’s most current data from 2018, about 7,600 young people under 25 died by suicide.

Some groups have higher suicide rates than others. Suicide rates vary by race/ethnicity, age, and other factors. The highest rates are among American Indian/ Alaska Native and non-Hispanic White populations. Other Americans with higher-than-average rates of suicide are veterans, people who live in rural areas, and workers in certain industries and occupations like mining and construction. Young people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual have a higher rate of suicidal ideation and behavior compared to their peers who identify as straight.

Suicidal thoughts are a symptom just like any other. But they can be frightening. It’s important to take suicidal thoughts seriously. Its ok to talk about suicide and important to seek help. Suicidal thinking can be treated and improve over time. Evidence shows that if an individual is in crisis and gets the help they need they will likely never be suicidal again. Suicide is NOT the answer.

The National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has recently changed to 988. It’s now easier to remember the three-digit number 988. #BeThe1To is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, which helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help, and hope.

 Panhandle Public Health District offers ongoing QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention webinars. Our goal is to ensure that everyone living in the Panhandle has the tools to have the essential conversation with someone in crisis and knows what to do to refer to help.  The next monthly QPR webinar training is Wednesday, September 14 at noon.  Register here: https://tinyurl.com/2p8kb837 Or contact Cheri Farris at 308-220-8020 or cfarris@pphd.org to schedule a webinar or in-person training for your group or organization.

Suicide Prevention Month Events around the Panhandle this September include:
My Ascension Film Screenings A suicide attempt left 16-year-old varsity cheerleader Emma Benoit paralyzed but propelled her on a mission to use her painful experience to help others find hope and stay alive. My Ascension is a feature-length documentary that chronicles Benoit’s inspiring journey and quest to walk again as she worked to bring Hope Squad, a school-based suicide prevention program, to Louisiana. “Emma's story captures the severity of the mental health and suicidality pandemic amongst the adolescent population in the United States. My Ascension is a serious yet uplifting story that provides hope, clarity, and support to its audience from a personal perspective,” said Saro Altinoglu, PSY.D, ROWI Teen and Parent Wellness Center.

If your organization, school, or community group is interested in hosting a viewing of My Ascension, please reach out to Nicole Berosek @ 308-279-3496 to schedule.

If you are interested in donating to help save a life and support the evidence-based, suicide prevention programs in the panhandle, you may contact Janelle Visser at 308-760-6493.

Please consider supporting suicide prevention activities near you. Together we can do more to stop suicide.

For more information or to get involved, contact Cheri Farris at 308-220-8020 or cfarris@pphd.org.

Cheri Farris, CHES

Updated : September 2022