September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S. and September 10 is more specifically Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is not a pleasant topic for discussion and therefore one all too many people fail to have. In these cases, where “no one wants to talk about it,” prevention becomes next to impossible. But it’s not impossible. It’s not really even difficult. It simply requires us to step out of our own self-contained escape pods and pay attention to what our friends and family are telling us - verbally and non-verbally- know the signs and make the hard decisions.
Ultimately, if you think someone you know is putting themselves in danger, either intentionally or unintentionally (suicide isn’t always a conscious decision; in some people, it manifests itself in reckless behavior such as drunk driving or binge drinking, promiscuity, or fighting, among other signs), get them help. Call a hotline, tell your resident advisor, call the police if it comes to that.
Here are five facts that you may not know about suicide, which might help you recognize signs in your own loved ones.
- In the college (18-24) age range, males are twice as likely to complete a suicide attempt but in graduate students (25-30) the rate of female suicide escalates to almost equal that of males.
- Non-traditional students, international students, as well as LGBT students, are at a higher risk than domestic traditional students, possibly due to a lack of access to suicide prevention and counseling resources.
- In addition to depression and alcohol or substance abuse, eating disorders can also be a warning sign of potential suicide attempts.
- Solitary binge drinkers are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide or have made previous attempts than social drinkers.
- College and university students statistically have a significantly lower risk of suicide than peers who are not in college.
The most important act of prevention is knowing where and how to seek help. Online resources are abundant, from the Jed Project to the ULifeline to To Write Love on Her Arms. But the most immediate help can be found by contacting a mental health professional - on or off campus - or by calling the Nation
al Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).