You Are Not Alone: Suicide Prevention Resources, Data, and Community Support
As the devastating news of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade’s suicides bring this issue back into the national spotlight, it’s a reminder that millions of people from all backgrounds are suffering in silence. Like these celebrities, many people never show signs of contemplating suicide.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States overall. It is even more prevalent for younger and middle-aged populations, as the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15-24, and the fourth highest for those ages 35-54. According to a new Center for Disease Control report (CDC), suicide rates have also increased in nearly every state since 1999.
Rates of suicide have increased by nearly 19 percent during this timeframe in Washington State alone.
While the causes of – and solutions for – the devastation of suicide are complex, we know that help and healing begin with a few important steps:
- Across the country and within our communities, we must come together to destigmatize the conversation around suicide so those at-risk feel empowered to lift their silence and ask for help.
- We must share strategies to listen and support each other when people do speak up.
- And we must make sure everyone knows how to access the behavioral health, community services, and other resources that can serve as a lifeline.
We hope this piece will serve as a guide post. We have included a collection of suicide prevention resources, insights, and Compass Health services and trainings below, to help our friends and neighbors obtain the care they need, and to provide community-wide tools for support.
Where to Turn for Support
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone right away through one of the services below. If having an immediate emergency, call 911.
Wherever you are, know you are not alone. The community cares about you and is here to provide help over the phone, through text messages, and in-person.
- VOA Crisis Care Line: 1-800-584-3578. This 24/7 crisis support service is staffed by behavioral health professionals who are trained to assess the situation, make appropriate referrals to programs and services, and can even dispatch our community-based crisis outreach team in Snohomish, Whatcom and Skagit counties.
- Compass Health: Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT): Our MCOT program provides outreach-based behavioral health services to respond to a crisis in the community at locations like homes, schools, churches and shelters. The program is dispatched by the VOA Crisis Care Line and comprised of mental health professionals, chemical dependency professionals, and certified peer counselors. MCOT services are available in Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
- National Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 anywhere in the U.S. to talk with a trained crisis counselor. Every texter is connected to a volunteer professional, who can help address a wide variety of crisis situations through active listening and collaborative problem solving.
- Compass Health: Mental Health First Aid Trainings: We are also a nationally certified trainer for Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid classes. At our trainings, you will learn similar strategies to the steps below, including how to identify warning signs, listen appropriately and discuss a crisis in nonjudgmental ways, and how to help adults and youth obtain the care they may need. Learn more and register for an upcoming class on our website.
Other Resources and Information
As we discuss at Compass Health’s Mental Health First Aid Training sessions, there are steps we all can take to understand the warning signs of suicide and help someone who might be at risk.
5 Steps to Help Someone at Risk of Suicide
- Ask someone you are worried about if they’re thinking about suicide.
- Keep them safe. Reduce access to lethal means for those at risk.
- Be there with them. Listen to what they need.
- Help them connect with ongoing support like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
- Follow up to see how they’re doing.
Know the 12 Suicide Warning Signs
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessnessSleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
Contributors of Suicide
While depression and other behavioral health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, there is rarely any single causal factor.
In fact, the CDC found that more than half of people who committed suicide did not have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of their death. Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as issues with relationships, substance use, physical health, and career, financial, legal or housing stress.
Talking about all contributing factors can destigmatize the conversation and make it easier for people to get the help they need.
National Suicide Prevention Advocate Speaking at Our Annual Gala
On Friday, September 14, we will also have a renowned suicide prevention expert and mental health advocate speaking at our Building Communities of Hope Gala at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
Kevin Hines is one of the few people to survive a suicide attempt by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He was only 19 years old at the time. Now he’s sharing his story of an unlikely survival and strong will to live around the world through his talks and recent documentary to help others.
You can learn more on our website. We hope to have your support and see you there.