Updated on September 13, 2017
Suicide, Stigma, and Statics
Suicide has been a problem throughout human history. In the recent years, it has started to become something of an epidemic. Suicide rates are increasing.
Statistics tell the story:
- More than 44,000 individuals die by suicide each year
- Roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S.
- Suicide currently ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10 – 24
It’s particularly problematic because people with suicidal thoughts feel as though they are not able to speak to others due to the stigmas surrounding suicide. Too often feelings of shame also prevent “suicide loss survivors,” friends and families affected by a suicide, from talking openly.
Though this month’s emphasis is suicide, it’s worth noting that those stigma feelings are not unique to suicide but encompass all forms of mental illness.National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, works to eliminate the stigma issue and build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness year round.
On the NAMI website, you’ll find
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk of Suicide
- Preventing Suicide as a Family Member or Caregiver
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
- If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
Educating ourselves about mental illness and suicide, in particular, can be the first step toward reducing the stigma and the statistics.