September is National Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the United States. Aside from the obvious loss of life, this is a public health issue that effects so many of us in various ways. The latest available estimates put out by the American Association of Suicidology show that 47,173 people took their own lives in 2017. It is further estimated that this number is under-reported by 10% which would make the actual number 51,890. For every completed suicide data suggests that there are twenty-five (25) suicide attempts made. These numbers have increased consistently for over ten (10) years.

Suicide is not restricted to any one category of people. From children to the elderly; male and female; varying ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds – this is a situation that knows no bounds. The means of suicide also vary with firearms being the most common method. In terms of frequency someone takes their own life in the United States every 11.1 minutes.

The impact of this issue is staggering. Aside from the obvious loss of life there are financial, psychological, and social impacts on survivors. It is estimated that for every completed suicide, 147 people are affected. This ripple effect could cause an impact of significantly more people depending on what the person does and what they may have for social, personal, and professional interactions.

Suicide programs vary across the country, Educational and other prevention programs, interventional services, and postvention support initiatives exist in varying degrees of development and impact. On a national scale it has been recognized that this is a public health issue and it will take a collaborative effort of many people to bring these numbers down.

Don’t let September be the only month that you give this topic your attention. Suicide doesn’t happen on a calendar.