Understanding World Suicide Prevention Day
According to the CDC, there is an average of suicide death in the United States every 11 minutes. By the time you are finished reading this article, it’s likely that at least one person somewhere in the country would have taken their own life.
As difficult as the topic is, though, it’s one that is highly important for society to discuss. It’s for this reason that September 10th has been declared world suicide prevention day.
At St. Jude Labs, we have committed ourselves to helping patients who are suffering from physical ailments via swift and reliable medical testing services, and it’s a mission that we are proud of. However, addressing the mental ailments that lead to suicide is every bit as important. That’s why we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of suicide prevention and discuss the many options that are available to those who are suffering.
Why Are Suicide Rates Increasing and What Can be Done to Reverse the Trend?
From 2000-2018, suicide rates increased by 30% in the United States. There are a lot of factors that can be contributed to this increase, including underdiagnosis of mental conditions, structural barriers to care, stereotypes and discrimination associated with mental health issues, and increased addiction and drug abuse rates.
Some of these factors are things that the medical community can directly control, which is largely the purpose of world suicide prevention day. No matter how much someone is suffering, suicide is never their first option. It’s only when a person feels like there is no other option or source of help that they begin to see suicide as the only way out. It is therefore incumbent upon the medical community and society at large to ensure that everyone is able to access the treatment that they need.
Eliminating the stigma regarding mental health treatment is an important place to start. For far too long, mental health has played second fiddle to physical health. However, the two are far more intertwined than we once thought, and one is not anymore valid or important than the other. Mental health issues are unavoidable and can happen to anyone. In the end, the brain is just another of the body’s organs, and sometimes that organ malfunctions. Conditions such as depression and PTSD are no more the fault of the patient or something to be ashamed of than conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The stigma around these mental health issues is one that society has created, and it’s one that the medical community must continue working to eliminate.
But the medical community can’t do it alone. While we can certainly make treatment more accessible and continue improving our approach to treating mental health issues, it’s up to society at large to change the way we approach mental health and suicide prevention. It may sound cliché to say that you should check up on your friends and family and reach out to anyone who seems to be struggling, but if there were more of this in the world then there would be a lot fewer suicide deaths.
Resources for Those Who Are Having Suicidal Thoughts
In 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish the number 988 as a nationwide dialing code for connecting people who are experiencing a mental health crisis with suicide prevention and mental health counselors. This is a great step toward making these services more accessible. If you are in the midst of a crisis, dialing this easy-to-remember number will immediately connect you with someone who is able to help.
Whether it’s calling 988, speaking with your physician, or talking with the friends and family who care about you most, reaching out for help is the best thing that anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts can do. Help is available, and as our understanding of mental health issues continues to grow society and the medical community alike are getting better and better at providing it. By raising awareness about suicide prevention this September, we at St. Jude Labs hope to help improve the world’s ability to care for those who are suffering even further.