You can help save a life


September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The month may be nearly over, but suicide prevention is a topic that needs to be discussed year-round.

In the U.S., 105 people kill themselves every day — that’s one person every 13.7 minutes. But someone attempts suicide every 32 seconds. That translates to almost 1 million Americans a year.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24, behind accidental deaths and homicide. In 2010, the latest year for which data is available, young people accounted for 15.6 percent of suicides.

In New York, suicide rates are actually among the lowest in the nation. But even with those low rates, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, New York lost 30,533 potential years of life to suicide in 2010.

Suicide doesn’t just affect the person committing the act. It is estimated that for every person who attempts or succeeds in killing him or herself, six people are immediately affected by it. It’s also estimated that there are 4.8 million suicide survivors in the U.S.

Mental illness and depression are conditions that should not be stigmatized. People should not feel ashamed about getting the help they need to live happier and more productive lives. Almost one in 10 American adults are affected by clinical depression, and most of them do not seek treatment.

Suicide is not something that has to happen. It is preventable. If you know the warning signs of suicide, you could help save the life of a friend or loved one.

Warning signs

According to the Long Island Crisis Center, there are many potential red flags for suicide. One of the first is when someone starts talking about death often. If a person seems to obsess over death or disappearing, or talks about people being better off without him, it can often be a sign that he is contemplating suicide.

Changes in personality and behavior can also be warning signs. If someone becomes unusually sad, anxious, or tired and apathetic, or if he is having trouble concentrating on school, work or mundane tasks, he may be at risk. Also, if he starts abusing drugs or alcohol or acting recklessly, it could be a sign that he no longer cares about living.

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