How We Can Help Prevent Suicide

Nearly 40,000 Americans—one person every 15 minutes—committed suicide in 2009. This is the highest rate recorded in 15 years and one that continues to increase. And contrary to popular belief, teens aren’t the only age group at risk. The highest rate of suicide among women occurs between the ages of 25 and 64. Although more men commit suicide each year, women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men.

This week, the US surgeon general announced a new plan to battle suicides nationwide, with the goal of saving 20,000 lives over the next five years. The plan includes $55 million in grants for state and community prevention programs. Individuals can also play a big part in reducing suicide. Friends, family, and coworkers may have an opportunity to spot a problem, provide support, and get their loved one the help they need.

Would you recognize the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide? They may include:

  • Talking about killing or harming themselves
  • Trying to access guns, pills, or other items to inflict self-harm
  • Expressing hopelessness or feeling that they have nothing to live for
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Drastically changing some behaviors
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Showing rage or talking about revenge

Suicide is a tragedy that affects women of all races and ages, their friends, families, and communities. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress, don’t brush it off. Tune in, take it seriously, and seek help as soon as possible.

To find suicide support and resources, visit the National Suicide Prevention Help Line website or call 800-273-TALK (8255).