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September is National Suicide Prevention Month

The Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia reminds all that one is never alone.

Get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988, 

text HELLO to 741741, or call Georgia Crisis Access Line at (800) 715-4225

During the month of September the Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia located in Bainbridge is joining with mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members to unite in a campaign to promote suicide prevention awareness.

Knowing the risk factors and warning signs can assist you in finding help for yourself, a loved one or friend.

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 – 24.  The CDC reported that the suicide rate among males is four times higher than that of females, and people who are 85 and older have the highest suicide rates. 

Statistics show that, in 2020, 45,979 people in the United States died by suicide. That is one death every 11 minutes. Additionally, 12.2 million adults reported seriously considering suicide, 3.2 million adults made a plan for suicide, and 1.2 million adults attempted suicide. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and racial backgrounds. Firearms are used in more than 50% of deaths by suicide. 

Suicide rates in the United States are lowest in the Winter and at their peak in the Spring, according to a study conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine. The same study also noted that suicide not only affects the individual, it affects those around them also. Family members of persons who have died by suicide are at a greater risk for suicide and  emotional problems.

As we recognize September as Suicide Awareness month, we have the opportunity to emphasize the seriousness of this issue.    In 2020, President Trump signed into law a bill that designated 988 as the national suicide prevention hotline. 

Life can be challenging. Sometimes the difficulties we face may feel completely overwhelming. We may feel as though we have nowhere to turn for help, no one who cares, and no hope. 

Relationship and family problems, divorce, losing a job, painful or disabling physical illness, financial stress, death of a friend or family member, heavy use of alcohol or drugs, loneliness, and isolation – these are all some of the challenges we may experience in life that can cause intense emotional distress. 

This distress may cause some to feel as though life is no longer worth living, and the idea of suicide can become a real option in their thoughts. 

We all have the inherent ability to be a support to another person. If you see signs that someone you know is struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. Ask them if they are ok. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. Asking will show them you care and will actually decrease their risk  because it shows someone is willing to talk to them about it. Listen to them, acknowledging their struggle and encourage them to keep talking to you. Stay with them. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention encourages us to remember that “someone considering suicide is experiencing a life-threatening health crisis and may not believe they can be helped” or that there is any hope in their situation. It is up to all of us to be willing and able to demonstrate that their life matters to us and that hope exists for them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with increased anxiety, fear, or worry, talk to a trained professional or to your pastor. Get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:   988 or text HELLO to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the  Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7, or you can call Georgia Crisis Access Line at (800) 715-4225.

Article written by Sarah Riche from the Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia. 


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