OhioHealth Medical Minute: Suicide Awareness & Prevention
How are you doing? That might be a question that you've been asked a hundred times. But right now, it is more important than ever to think about it and be honest. Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition.
"There are warning signs for suicide," said Megan Schabbing, MD, OhioHealth Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services. "If we recognize those signs, and get them help, we can continue to prevent suicide."
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, the hope is that people use September to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide.
"When you notice that someone has stopped spending time with people, checking in, or says things like 'I wish I was dead,' or 'I want to hurt myself,' it is time to take action," Dr. Schabbing said.
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
- If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
According to NAMI, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34, and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. They share other suicide fast facts:
- 78% of all people who die by suicide are male.
- Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
- The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
- 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition.
- While nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms.
- Annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide, by U.S. demographic group:
- 4.8% of all adults
- 11.8% of young adults aged 18-25
- 18.8% of high school students
- 46.8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students
- Some of the highest rates of suicide in the U.S. are among American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic white communities.
- Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
- Transgender adults are nearly 12x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for people held in local jails.
To get more information on behavioral health support from OhioHealth, click here.