September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. At AllOne Health, we want to help organizations everywhere find the support they need to bring greater attention to this growing concern so we can all work together in addressing it.
U.S. suicide rates have been escalating in recent decades. Between 2001 and 2021, suicide deaths increased by nearly 32%. In 2022, nearly 50,000 Americans died by suicide—an all-time high. The greatest increases were among middle-aged and older adults.
According to the CDC’s chief medical officer, “Everyone can play a role in efforts to save lives and reverse the rise in suicide deaths.” Our goal is to help organizations build safe and supportive environments that prioritize mental health throughout the year.
Please remind individuals that their Assistance Program provides free and confidential mental health counseling to address personal challenges, receive support, and help prevent issues from escalating. If you are concerned about a colleague or family member, your Assistance Program is always available to offer support and resources.
We also want to use this opportunity to help individuals become better prepared in navigating a mental health crisis by recognizing common warning signs:
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or purposelessness
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities they once enjoyed
- Displaying intense emotions or sudden mood swings
- Talking about feeling like a burden to others
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviors
Approaching someone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts requires sensitivity and care. Here are some ways to provide support:
- Initiate a conversation, expressing your concerns openly and without judgment, assuring them you are there to listen and provide support.
- Validate their feelings, by acknowledging their emotions and letting them know it’s OK to feel overwhelmed.
- Encourage professional help and support in finding the right resources.
- Remove access to any items that could be used for self-harm.
- Stay connected by checking in on them regularly and reminding them that they are not alone.
- If there’s an imminent risk of someone harming themselves or others, please call 911.
Organizations, leadership teams, colleagues, and family members all play a role in helping those in crisis find the support they need. At AllOne Health, we are here to help.