Tuesday marks the world awareness day for one of the leading and most preventable causes of death across the globe — suicide.
Each day roughly 129 Americans take their own lives, and for each life lost 25 others attempt suicide, according to the most recent information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In fact, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States. CDC data shows 47,173 Americans committed suicide in 2017. Perhaps more perplexing is that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those ages 15-34.
In Kentucky, 770 lives were lost to suicide in 2017 — one person every 11 hours — making it the 11th-leading cause of death. More than four times as many people died by suicide than alcohol-related vehicle accidents.
Fortunately, suicide is preventable, which is why the worldwide awareness day is held annually on Sept. 10. This year’s theme, “Working Together to Prevent Suicide,” stresses the importance of recognizing warning signs and symptoms including:
• Extreme feelings of hopelessness, despair and self-doubt.
• Making end of life plans (preparing wills, giving away valued possesssions.
• Discussing suicide methods, purchasing weapons or acquiring large quantities of medication.
• Drug or alcohol use, which can cause impulsive behavior.
• Isolation — cutting off social connections with family and friends.
• Sudden sense of calm.
Suicidal thoughts are a signal for help and can be treated. Make a promise to yourself that you will overcome the feelings for another minute, hour, day or whatever it takes to get help.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) urges those who may be suicidal to reach out for help from a doctor, family member or trusted friend.
Every life lost is someone’s partner, parent, child or friend. According to IASP statistics, for each life lost to suicide approximately 135 people are affected.
For help, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call the free, confidential, 24/7 hotline at 1-800-273-8255.