National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. To ensure safety it’s important to include suicidal ideations or self-harm concerns when we address mental health. It’s a myth that asking about suicidal ideations plants a seed or increases the likelihood individuals consider it an option. On the contrary, including suicide contemplations in a discussion may allow an individual to share thoughts that they have had and seek treatment for serious mental health concerns.
The suicide rate in the U.S. has increased since 2021 across gender, ages. and races – with 2022 being the highest year recorded for suicides according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline implemented in 2022 has taken thousands of calls addressing individuals’ personal concerns. Similarly, there’s been an uptick in local crisis response centers answering calls routed from the national 988 Lifeline.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers graphics and messages to encourage and/or navigate difficult discussions. Warning signs for suicide and helping someone at risk for self-harm may be found on the following websites, NIMH » Warning Signs of Suicide (nih.gov) and NIMH » 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain (nih.gov).
Kamala Via, DNP, CRNP-PMH is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Shine Behavioral Health in Severna Park, Maryland.