September is Suicide Prevention Month and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.
According to the World Health Organization, one person dies every 40 seconds from suicide; it has become a ‘global public health issue’. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States; however, among individuals ages 10 – 34, it is the 2nd leading cause of death and is the 4th leading cause among ages 35 – 54. Also, the suicide rate among males is nearly four times higher than females.
Nationally, Oklahoma is ranked 8th in having the highest rate of suicide. More suicides occur in Oklahoma than motor vehicle accidents every year and suicide outpaces homicide 3 to 1. Firearms are the most common weapons used.
Suicide does not discriminate, everyone can be at risk. Suicidal behavior is complex and there is no single cause. We can help with suicide prevention by being more aware of signs, symptoms and main risk factors:
Signs & Symptoms
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, making a will
- Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
- Certain medical conditions
- Chronic pain
- A prior suicide attempt
- Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Having recently been released from prison or jail
- Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities
Oklahoma’s 14 community mental health centers, including Counseling & Recovery Services, provide suicide risk screening for people who want help. The CALM Center also is available to help children and adolescents ages 10-17, around the clock, 7 days a week including holidays.
Your life matters. Don’t suffer alone. We’re here to help.