NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK
National Suicide Prevention Week is the Monday through Sunday surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10. It’s a time to share resources and stories, as well as promote suicide prevention awareness. The week focuses on informing and engaging health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.
By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance and to support people who have attempted suicide.
As part of the campaign, health organizations conduct depression screenings—including self-administrated and online tests—and refer interested individuals to a national toll-free telephone number such as 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or 1–800–784-2433 (SUICIDE).
National statistics show that males commit suicide 3.5 times more often than females. Most suicides are in the 45-64 age group. The US. Army reports military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans. Suicide rates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and adults in the US. are three times higher than national averages.
Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.
HOW TO OBSERVE #SuicidePreventionWeek
The American Association of Suicidology stresses the need to be open about suicide, to talk about it and not just spend the one week focusing on prevention. The Association encourages people spread awareness, advocate for research funding, and be kind to others.
Know and share the resources. A list of accredited crisis centers can be found here:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers five steps to help someone who may be considering suicide.
1. Ask if they are considering suicide. Asking someone if they are considering killing themselves does not put the idea in their head. Do not be afraid to ask!
2. If someone admits to considering suicide, it is important to seek immediate medical attention, especially if they shared their plan with you or have access to firearms.
3. If they are willing to talk, do not lecture or correct. Listen without judgment and with empathy. Let them know they have a shoulder to lean on when they need.
4. Help them find a support system. Those who have attempted to harm themselves are often at risk of another attempt at suicide.
5. Follow up with them. It could mean preventing thoughts of suicide or another attempt.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK HISTORY
Since 1975, NSPW awareness events have been held throughout the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on the 10th of September.