My cause for September comes due to my heavy heart from the passing of one of my favorite actors/comedians of all time, Robin Williams, which brought into light the serious issue of suicide that many people (including myself) didn’t/don’t realize is so prevalent today. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a non-profit helping to prevent suicide through research, advocacy, and education.
|Photo credit: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention|
In 2011, just under 40,000 suicides were reported in the U.S., resulting in suicide being the 10th leading cause of death nationwide, most of whom suffered from a mental illness (e.g. depression). Furthermore, only 1 in 5 people suffering from a mental illness get treatment. Whether you know someone falls under this category or not, there are a few red flags to look out for:
If a person talks about:
Killing themselves, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, seeking revenge, feeling trapped, unbearable pain, etc.
If their behavior includes:
Increased use of alcohol or drugs, acting recklessly, withdrawing from activities, sleeping too much or too little, suffering from panic attacks, giving away prized possessions, etc.
Triggering risk factors:
Contagion (exposure to another person’s suicide), access to lethal means, prolonged stress factors (e.g. harassment, bullying, unemployment), and stressful life events (e.g. death, divorce, job loss)
You can donate monetarily just like any other cause, or you can sign up for the Out of Darkness Walk nearest you, which start this week in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week.
If you’re in crisis personally or are worried about someone who might be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or consult a mental healthcare professional. Additional resources for emergencies and mental healthcare treatment can be found here.