September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
August 30, 2023
We can all help prevent suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, a time when communities can come together and share their stories and resources to help spread awareness about suicide in the hope of preventing another individual from taking their life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021, which is about one death every 11 minutes. The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2021, an estimated 12.3 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide attempt and 1.7 million attempted suicide. In 2021, suicide was among the top nine leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34. Firearms account for 50% of suicides and women attempt suicide three times more frequently than men; however, men are three times more likely to die by suicide. Suicide is highly linked to mental health disorders such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression, and affects individuals who are struggling with a substance abuse disorder or an eating disorder. Preventing and treating mental illness is the first line of defense in preventing suicide.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Frequently talking about self-harming behavior and suicide or portraying themselves in a negative light.
- Distancing themselves emotionally from friends and family.
- A loss of interest in activities that once brought them joy, such as playing sports, participating in hobbies and spending time with friends.
- Unpredictable changes in eating or sleeping habits, often accompanied by neglecting personal hygiene.
- Desperate attempts to regain lost friends, such as succumbing to peer pressure to engage in unhealthy habits such as drug use or excessive drinking.
- A decline in school or work performance.
- Buying a gun or weapon.
- Asking questions associated with death and/or suicide.
- Giving away prized belongings.
Offering to be there for someone and listen to them without judgment can be a major contributing factor in that individual seeking out more help. When you show others that you are willing to lend a helping hand, it can give peace of mind that someone cares.
If your friend or family member is working through their healing, show that you are willing to be someone they can lean on during this time.
Taking action to connect friends or family with helpful resources can also show your support. Often, people may not know where to turn or what’s available to them. If someone is at risk, you can guide them to the right places so they can continue to seek help.
Letting them know that what they are facing isn’t something they have to carry alone can lighten the burden.
- Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255 (TALK): Available 24 hours
- The Colorado Crisis Line provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers will be connected with a clinician or a peer counselor. Denver Health's Mobile Crisis Services can respond to callers who need a visit in the community — at home, work or elsewhere. The STAR van, which is staffed by Denver Health Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, also provides community mental health responses without police involvement. Callers who have a Colorado area code and dial 9-8-8 will be forwarded to the Colorado Crisis Line.
- Trevor Lifeline
- The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Lifeline is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Trevor Text is available by texting “START” to 678678.
- Crisis Text Line
- Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer crisis counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment. With over 79 million messages processed to date, they are growing quickly, but so is the need.
- Trevor Space
- Trevor Space is an affirming international community for LGBTQ+ young people ages 13-24 years old. It is an online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ+ young people and their friends.
- Trans Lifeline
- Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of the trans community with direct service, material support, advocacy and education. Fighting the epidemic of trans suicide and improving overall life-outcomes of trans people, the Trans Lifeline facilitates justice-oriented, collective community aid. Their peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. The line is available daily from 8 a.m.–2 a.m. Volunteers may be available during off hours. Call 877-565-8860 to speak to someone now.
- National Institute of Mental Health
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Denver Community Resource Guide (English)
- Denver Community Resource Guide (Spanish)