• Isha Team

What is National Suicide Prevention Week?

September 4th to 10th has been National Suicide Prevention Week. Many people, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, religious and government institutions, and other affiliate entities have joined hands to raise awareness, spread hope, and provide nationwide support. The week is especially vital for raising funds, pulling resources, and engaging discourses that better endeavors already in motion to prevent suicide in America.


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) spearheads the recognition of the week after labor day as Suicide Prevention Week to stir conversations and inspire action about suicide. The organization uses its resources to rally the public to talk and learn about suicide causes, prevention measures, and life after a suicide attempt.


The week is not about morbid stories or spreading fear. It is about bringing a message of hope to people finding death as a logical solution to their mental and physical struggles. It also strengthens those who have had a friend, loved one, or colleague lose their life from suicide to reflect and find solace.



What is National Suicide Prevention Week?


What Statistics Show Concerning Suicide


The most recent report by the CDC shows suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in America today. In 2020, 45,979 people committed suicide, and over a million individuals attempted suicide. From the report, the figures show:


  • Children as early as age 5 to 9 commit suicide - CDC notes that some of the figures indicated unstable values

  • 25 to 34-year-olds had the highest suicide numbers in 2020, accounting for 13.9% of deaths in this group. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the 25 to 34 age group.

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10-14 years olds. It accounted for 21.9% of deaths in this age group.

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds, accounting for 19.3% of deaths in this age group in 2020.

  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death between 35 to 44-year-olds. 8.8% of recorded deaths in this group died by suicide.

  • The suicide percentage for 45 to 54-year-olds stands at 4.8%. Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for this age group.

  • 2% of deaths in the 55 -64 age group were a result of suicide.

  • Suicide did not make the top-ten list for persons over 65 of age.


From the data, it is evident that suicide rates are highest between 10 to 44-year-olds. It is among the top three causes of death between 10 to 34-year-olds. Statistics also show men have a higher completed suicide rate than women. However, women have higher cases of suicide attempts.


What Drives Suicide Rates in this Demography?


When looking for suicide causes, experts analyze general trends - the issues affecting the majority in the target group. Each suicide case and attempt is always different, and the reasons behind ideation and death are complex.


Social Media


The digital age has brought with it significant pressure to younger generations. Many people struggle to please and maintain the online status quo without finding lasting satisfaction. The standards of perfection have gone up tremendously - not just on body image, wealth, or fame. Even well-meaning platforms niched on practicalities like employment sourcing or business-centric have become a source of vicious competition and bullying.


Racism


In minority communities, suicide rates are increasing despite rates decreasing in the white population. Racism is a leading cause of mental illness, enhancing the group's vulnerability to suicidal tendencies. Research shows racial microaggression ignites a mental burden to the recipients, enough to trigger suicidal ideation.


Easy Access to Firearms


Gun control is still a burden in America. Many people can legally possess a firearm and use it on themselves when push comes to shove. Death by firearms occurs in half of the reported suicide cases. Furthermore, about 85% of attempted suicide by firearm ends in death.


Economic Strain


The cost of living is a burden to many households in America. Many end up on the lower end of the wealth distribution spectrum. Unfortunately, this is the group with higher suicide rates.


The National Opioid Epidemic


Suicide is a crucial component of the opioid crisis. Research shows that misusing opioids increases a person's vulnerability to suicidal ideation and attempts by up to 60%. Opioids were involved in 40% of suicide cases in 2017.


Social Isolation


As technological advances reduce the need for physical contact, many people are finding themselves isolated. Social circles continue to decrease, and interactions become more toxic and inhumane. Furthermore, the rise in mood disorders also interferes with people's socialization preferences.



National Suicide Prevention Week endeavors to intensify and direct all focus to this growing problem in America.


Why a National Suicide Prevention Week is Significant


National Suicide Prevention Week endeavors to intensify and direct all focus to this growing problem in America. The public learns more about suicide - beyond statistics or isolated heart-breaking news stories. The week is full of special events, personal stories, social media engagement, televised conversations to


  • Raise awareness by demystifying myths and dismantling stereotypes

  • Providing support for affected families and friends of loved ones who died through suicide or attempted suicide

  • Share ways to find help for people with suicidal tendencies or ideations

  • Show people how to identify signs and safely reach out to people with suicidal tendencies.

  • Advocate for people and organizations to join the cause and support the movement


Strides From National Suicide Prevention Week


The National Suicide Week and Month has accomplished so much since its inception. According to the CDC, suicide rates were at an all-time high between 2000 and 2018. The figures - 14.5 deaths per 100,000 people - were the highest the country has witnessed in 50 years. In 2018, suicide rates when down by 2.1% to 13.9 deaths per 100,000 people. By 2020, the rate decreased further to 13.5 per 100,000.


The collected efforts of the American people, organizations, the government, and non-governmental institutions have contributed to this declining trend. Nevertheless, there is still much ground to cover. Through National Suicide Prevention Week, many more can join the bandwagon for this worthy cause.


Call 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for help if you are going through a life crisis. You do not have to bear this burden alone or suffer in silence. Reach out and talk to someone today.


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