Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month —a time to raise awareness of this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. We use this month to shift public perception, spread hope and share vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
Throughout the month of September, NAMI will highlight the “Together for Mental Health,” campaign which encourages people to bring their voices together to advocate for better mental health care, including an effective crisis response system. After years of advocacy and preparation, 988 is now available nationwide as the new number to contact for mental health, substance use and suicide crises — a simple, easy-to-remember way for people to get help. This new number will allow people to quickly connect with support during a crisis, 24/7, no matter where they live.
Ultimately, NAMI wants any person experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors to have a number to call, a system to turn to, that would connect them to the treatment and support they need.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately.
- If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org.
- You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
- Read our guide, “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis”
- What You Need to Know About Youth Suicide
- Need more information, referrals or support? Contact the NAMI HelpLine.
While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength to address difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.
- 79% of all people who die by suicide are male.
- Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are 4x more likely to die by suicide.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–14 and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 in the U.S.
- Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
- 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition – but research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.
- Annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide, by U.S. demographic group:
- 4.9% of all adults
- 11.3% of young adults aged 18-25
- 18.8% of high school students
- 45% of LGBTQ youth
- The highest rates of suicide in the U.S. are among American Indian/Alaska Natives followed by non-Hispanic whites.
- Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are nearly 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
- Transgender adults are nearly 9x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for people held in local jails.
Data from CDC, NIMH and other select sources.