September is National Suicide Prevention Month. NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) says that National Suicide Prevention Month serves, “to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services.” It also provides friends and families with access to the resources they need to address prevention.
Monroe County has the highest suicide rate in the state. Intervention and awareness are crucial parts of our community’s ability to lower rates. Good prevention techniques include knowing the signs-- social withdrawal, increased alcohol or drug use, and dramatic mood swings-- and reaching out when help is needed. There is no clear cut cause of suicide but risk factors include a history of depression or mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, family history of suicide, being male, being aged 18-29, and being in the military or being retired military. Additionally, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
Another large part of preventing suicide is reducing the stigma around mental illness. One in five Americans live with a mental health condition. Friends, family members, and organizations can promote a supportive culture by helping others recognize stigma and its impact and learn ways to embrace a culture of overall health, including emotional well-being and physical health.
Here are some other ways you can help:
In Key West, the annual Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention walk takes place on November 6th at the Key West Sherriff’s office. To register, click here.
by Chelsea Wait