Did you know that, in the United States, one person completes suicide every 12.3 minutes? Or it’s estimated that more than 5 million people in the United States have been directly affected by a suicide? Or that 50% of all persons who die by suicide use a firearm kept in the home? Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Experts also know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. Prevent Suicide Wisconsin is a leading voice in suicide prevention in our state. Together we can make a difference!
While Suicide Prevention Awareness Week (SPAW), sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology, is officially Sept. 5-11, many communities are not able to schedule their events in this limited time frame. Plus, there are a number of other events not specifically related to SPAW that nonetheless are related to suicide prevention that we want you to be aware of throughout the month of September and October.
Download September and October events as a PDF
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Increase alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family and society
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Dramatic mood changes
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
Be Aware of the Facts
- Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
- Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions.
- Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
- Approximately 41,100 Americans kill themselves every year. The number of suicide attempts is much greater,
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, and it is the 10th leading cause of death among all persons.
- The suicide rate is higher among the elderly (over 65) than any other age group.
- 3.5 times as many men kill themselves as compared to women, yet three times as many women attempt suicide.
- Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries.
- Firearms are currently the most utilized method of suicide by essentially all groups (male, female, young, old, white, non-white).
- Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, they may themselves be at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.
Ways to Be Helpful to Someone in Crisis
- Be aware. Learn the warning signs.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
- Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow for expression of feelings. Accept the Feelings.
- Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Don’t dare him/her to do it.
- Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
- Don’t ask ‘why’. This encourages defensiveness.
- Offer empathy, not sympathy.
- Don’t act shocked. This creates distance.
- Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available, do not offer glib reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.
- Take action! Remove means! Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.