*Trigger Warning* September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Bella Lee, Staff writer

TW: Mention of suicide, symptoms of depression, suicide awareness

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is a crucially important time, especially for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or have lost a loved one to suicide.

Suicide is currently ranked number 10 in leading causes of death for all age groups.

Suicidal thoughts could come as a result of many traumatizing events, such as the death of a loved one, bullying at school or living in an unsafe environment.

There are a variety of warning signs that you should be aware of when someone is at risk of suicide. These include feeling extreme depression, guilt, or shame; feeling hopeless; talking about or preoccupation with death or suicide; preparing for death (including updating or preparing a will, giving away possessions, or taking steps to access lethal means such as buying a firearm, acquiring quantities of pills/medication, and researching ways to die); and exhibiting a dramatic change in behavior (including withdrawal from friends or usual activities, increased alcohol and/or drug use, difficulties in sleeping or eating, and decreased self-care).

If you suspect that a loved one is contemplating suicide, follow the ACE (Ask, Care, Escort) Model.

First, ask them if they are thinking of ending their life. Research has shown that someone with suicidal thoughts often feels relief when someone asks in a caring way.

Next, show them that you care by listening to them and offering your support.

Finally, escort them from any source of harm and make sure they don’t remain by themselves.

In the worst-case scenario, take your loved one to the emergency room to make sure they’re cared for or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and follow their guidance.

While suicide is the number 10 leading cause of death across all age groups, it is the second leading cause among 15–24-year-olds. This is often due to this being the age range where the most life changes occur, such as going into the workforce or seeking higher education. These factors often leave this age group feeling lost and lonely.

Additionally, there is one death by suicide in the United States every 12 minutes as well as and 25 attempts for every death, which adds up to 105 Americans dying by suicide daily and over 38,000 Americans taking their lives annually.

In most countries, suicide rates among men are twice or thrice as much as rates among women, mainly due to men being unable to express their negative feelings out of fear of being perceived as “not manly enough.”

Being a teenager and a young adult is a difficult time, especially in this day and age. This month, and every chance you get, be sure to check in on your friends and make sure they’re okay.

You never know what someone else is going through or how many lives you could potentially save just by checking up on those you care about.