Recently, in the news, we have seen a string of high-profile suicides committed by individuals in their twenties. When most of us think of our twenties, we often think of college graduations, first jobs, engagements and baby announcements. Rarely do we think of the loss of life and the impact of grief on families and communities.
According to the CDC (2021), suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 10 and 34. Every eleven minutes, someone dies of suicide. This is an epidemic, a global epidemic (WHO, 2021). Some risk factors include a previous suicide attempt, talk of suicide, giving away cherished possessions, recent attempts by a family member or friend, history of depression, increased use of alcohol and illicit substances and a strong wish to die.
Suicide prevention is the key, and we all have a role to play. If you know of someone who is exhibiting behaviors outside of their normal personality or habits, check in on them. Here are some recommendations from the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”
- Decrease access to lethal materials.
- Listen and acknowledge the individual’s thoughts and feelings.
- Connect a person in crisis to hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or Louisville’s Crisis and Information Center at 1-502-589-4313.
- Stay connected with the individual, follow up as often as possible and attempt to connect them to other supportive individuals and organizations.
UofL Health – Peace Hospital is located at 2020 Newburg Road, 40205 and is open 24/7, seven days a week to treat individuals struggling with behavioral health and substance use disorders.