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September is suicide prevention month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. While the topic of suicide is difficult to discuss, it is a necessary conversation to have with loved ones.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45,000 Americans over the age of 10 committed suicide in 2016. According to the American Foundation for Suicide  Prevention, 1,409 people committed suicide in the state of Georgia in 2018. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people 25 to 34 years, and the third leading cause for people 15 to 24 years old in Georgia.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of their backgrounds.  More than 54 percent of those who committed suicide did not have  known mental health problems, according to the CDC.

It’s important to know the warning signs of suicide that can be exhibited by friends, family or even coworkers.

Warning signs include comments about killing themselves and talking or writing about death, dramatic mood swings, aggressive, impulsive or reckless behavior, social withdrawal, and increased drug or alcohol use, according to the NAMI.

Other warning signs from the CDC include sleeping too little or too much, expressing hopelessness and feeling trapped.

There are ways everyone can prevent suicide. According to the CDC, ask the person you’re worried about if they’re thinking about suicide. Reduce access to lethal ways the person could kill themselves, be there for them and listen to what the person needs, and connect them with support.

Make to follow up with person even after connecting them to support.

According to NAMI, ask the person you’re worried about what you can do to help them. Don’t argue with the person or tell them whether suicide is right or wrong.

Even if that person isn’t having a crisis, support is needed.

It’s the little things that can go a long way in saving a life.

The phone number to the national suicide hotline is 1 (800) 273-8255. Those uncomfortable talking on the phone can text “NAMI” to 741-741, which is the national crisis text line.