September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Every year, too many people are lost to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) over 48,000 Americans die by suicide every year out of 1.4 million attempts. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.
- Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are four times more likely to die by suicide. In fact, 75 percent of all people who die by suicide are male.
- Although it is the 10th leading cause of death overall, it is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 , 4th leading cause of death for people 35-54
- Only 46 percent of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition, meaning that too often suicide is a symptom of an undiagnosed mental illness. Additionally, research shows that 90 percent of suicide victims exhibited symptoms.
- Suicide is on the rise. The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001 .
I understand the battle so well, having found myself during my darkest days passively wondering whether everyone would be better off if I weren’t here. When you are alone in the darkness, the whispers of mental illness trying to pull you down can be so dangerous, which is why it is so important to end the stigma and talk openly about these dark moments. Because together, we are stronger than the lies of our mental illnesses. And when we reach out and connect in the darkness, when we lift each other out of that darkness, that is what Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is all about.