(StatePoint) Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Each year, tens of thousands of Americans die by suicide and millions more have serious thoughts about suicide.
September, which is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, is meant to shine a light on this growing public health problem, and give people the tools they need to support those who are struggling or in crisis. Here’s how to get involved:
- Regularly reach out to family, friends and members of your community. Talking about mental health issues may help them feel more comfortable getting needed help.
- Join a local American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter, or participate in awareness-raising events, such as a community or campus Out of the Darkness Walk. Events like these give individuals the courage to open up about their personal connection to the cause, and help those struggling feel less alone.
- Spread the word about 988, a three-digit dialing code. When someone dials 988, they will be connected to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This confidential support line is available 24 hours a day to provide free help to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.