September is National Suicide Prevention Month

Posted on: September 11, 2018

Contributor(s): Tyler Adams


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States resulting in nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016. These statistics from the CDC do not include those who attempted suicide or those with suicidal ideation. According to a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2016, 9.8 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 2.8 million made a suicide plan, and 1.3 million made a nonfatal suicide attempt.


SAMHSA also reported that in 2016, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals 10-34 years old and was the fourth leading cause of death for individuals 35-54 years.  Suicide affects such a large portion of the population that identifying the warning signs, potential risk factors, and knowing about prevention strategies and support services is so important


The following list of warning signs came from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Someone may be struggling with suicidal ideation if they are: 


  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves,
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun,
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live,
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain,
  • Talking about being a burden to others,
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs,
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly,
  • Sleeping too little or too much,
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves,
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge,
  • Having extreme mood swings.

A good questions to ask is what can be done to prevent suicidal ideation before someone begins exhibiting warning signs?  Well, Suicide Prevention is composed of two primary functions; reducing factors that increase risk (i.e. risk factors) and increasing factors that promote resilience (i.e. protective factors).


Suicide prevention can be challenging because there is not typically a direct cause of suicide.  There are however, four factors of influence that contribute to the risk of suicide: individual, relationship, community, and societal.  Suicide prevention should address all four levels. 


Protective factors are a buffer from suicidal thoughts or behaviors.  Some of these protective factors are: family and community support, effect problem solving skills, as well as effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders and support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships


At Primary Health Solutions, our approach to integrated care provides some of these protective factors to the individuals we serve.  We have behaviorists at each of our six locations including our two school based health centers to assist in combating some of the associated risk factors of suicide.


Struggling with Suicide? Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255)


Looking for more information on Suicide Prevention?