The importance of Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month is evident in light of an alarming increase in national suicide rates. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that after declining in 2019 and 2020, suicide deaths in the United States increased approximately 5% in 2021. Provisional estimates for 2022 indicate that suicide deaths increased an additional 2.6%, rising from 48,183 in 2021 to an estimated 49,449 in 2022. These figures underscore an urgent need for decisive measures, especially as specific vulnerable demographics such as veterans, LGBTQ+ youth, and those grappling with financial difficulties, are confronted with elevated risks of suicide.
Fostering awareness and understanding of mental health is paramount during Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. Communities can take proactive steps to prevent suicide by encouraging open conversations about mental well-being, offering non-judgmental support to those in need, and dismantling the stigma associated with seeking help. By promoting accessible mental health resources, advocating for improved mental health care infrastructure, and remaining aware of warning signs, we can collectively work toward reducing the impact of suicide and strive for a world where every individual feels valued, understood, and empowered to seek assistance when battling thoughts of suicide.
If you or a loved one are in distress, there is immediate, confidential, free support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling or texting 988. The three-digit dialing code routes callers to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).