Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

Lola Gagich, Staff Writer

The suicide prevention hotline has changed. If you or anyone you know is struggling please call or text 988. 

(Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide)

As September ends, we should reflect on Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, it is important to spread awareness of the amount of lives lost to suicide and to encourage individuals who are struggling to seek help. It is urgent to combat the stigma around suicide and understanding its increasing trend.

Not only does this month emphasize preventing suicide and remembering those lost to suicide, it also points out that suicidal thoughts and tendencies can be a symptom of other mental health issues. This is another reason the topic of suicide should be talked about more. Mental illnesses seem like a taboo, something to fear and judge, but this needs to change. 

Saugus’ social worker, Mr. Rounsaville, shares his outlook on bringing light to the issue of suicide, “You have to embrace the conflicting feelings of the sadness, scariness, realness, prevalence and truth of suicide. You also have to balance that with education to help people learn about and better understand mental illness and promote mental health or mental wellness. Suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but I think we do need to bring it to light whenever possible to help educate, reduce attempts and fatalities, reduce the stigma, and provide support to those in need.” 

Many think suicidal thoughts end at the thoughts or that it is a result of wanting attention, but this is far from the truth. As of 2020, 45,799 people died of suicide in the US alone. This has gone up drastically by 30% in the past 20 years. Suicidal thoughts and tendancies are far from just a cry for attention. If you or someone you know is struggling, seek help. 

Despite its importance, seeking help can be hard. However, the suicide hotline is availiable 24/7. Nationally, dialing 988 will connect you to a support line. The suicide prevention hotline number, once 1-800-273-8255, has changed to the previously stated 988. According to the National Awareness on Mental Illness, this number is “a simple, easy-to-remember way for people to get help.” Not only does this number cover suicide prevention, but substance abuse and mental health crisises as well. You can also find help on a more local scale. 

Saugus’ social worker, Ira Rounsaville, is also contactable if you need help. In his words, “We’ve all had struggles of some kind and we didn’t get through them on our own. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, know that there are people who ARE willing to be there for you and that you’e not alone.” Mr. Rounsaville urges anyone who thinks that “[They’re] the “only one”, and that no one will understand or want to help them” to reach out to trained individuals/close people who will support you. 

Suicide is a public health crisis. It is the second leading cause of death of people 10-14 and the third in people 15-24. Only 46% of people who die of suicide had a diagnosed mental condition while 90% of people had symptoms of mental health. This further shows mental health needs to be talked about more and that suicide awareness month is really needed. Know the signs, and know where to ask for help, so no one else becomes a statistic. 

To close in the words of Mr. Rounsaville, “These thoughts may make you feel hopeless, but please know there is still hope that remains.”