September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which helps promote awareness of resources for suicide prevention and emphasizes the importance of knowing how to talk to people about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.
Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background; it is the third leading cause of death among young people in Alexandria, as well as across the United States.
The Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia (SPAN) and the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) offer resources that can help, including:
- At-Risk for Middle School and At-Risk for High School free online, evidence-based suicide prevention training to help concerned adults support youth who exhibit signs of psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide.
- Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training from DCHS for laypersons and paraprofessionals. MHFA is an eight-hour live training and certification on skills to help persons who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there is one suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes; nearly 40,000 people per year die by suicide in the U.S. While the suicide rate in Northern Virginia is slightly lower than the national average, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationwide across all age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about suicide prevention and resources for all age groups, visit the DCHS Suicide Prevention Month page.