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Talking about suicide is an important step toward preventing it.

September is Suicide Prevention month.  Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24.

Everyone deserves to have good emotional health. And recovery from a mental health concern or challenge can happen for everyone. It takes hope and supportive systems like schools, family, friends and community.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Along with exercise, nutrition and sleep, mental health is an important part of your overall health. Pierce County ranks 22nd of 39 Washington counties in health outcomes, and 26th in factors negatively impacting health. In Pierce County:

  • For children ages 10-18, mental illness is one of the leading causes of hospitalization.
  • Within the past 4 years, emergency room visits for children with a primary diagnosis of behavioral or mental health condition has risen by 400% at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. 

Why are youth feeling sad?

According to the 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, among Pierce County 10th graders:

  • 40% said they had been sad or hopeless during the past year. (34% of middle schoolers).
  • 27% reported considering suicide during the past year (21% of middle schoolers).
  • 21% said they had made a suicide plan (17% of middle schoolers).
  • 6% reported at least 1 suicide attempt during the past year (7% of middle schoolers).

Youth with mental health illnesses may face challenges in their homes, school, community and interpersonal relationships. But for most youth, mental health distress is not permanent, and most can successfully work through mental health challenges.

Professional support and services and a strong family and social support network help youth build and sustain emotional resilience. That’s the foundation of strong mental health.

Suicide is a public health issue.

We work to prevent suicidal behavior. We:

  • Address protective and risk factors that harm mental health.
  • Commit to improve suicide prevention though collaboration and partnership.
  • Strengthen families and our communities. We help build resiliency skills, healing from trauma and increasing protective factors.
  • Increase mental well-being for all residents through:
    • Safe storage of lethal means programs.
    • Social emotional learning projects.
    • Encouraging people to seek help early for substance misuse and/or mental health challenges.

Talk about suicide.

It’s important to acknowledge suicide. Talking about it can help reduce suicidal thoughts. If you’re concerned about a loved one:

  • Ask “are you thinking about suicide?” This shows you want to help.
  • Be there physically or emotionally. Tell them you’ll be their support.
  • Keep them safe. Establish immediate safety. Determine their level of danger.
  • Help them connect. You can offer support and resources:
  • Follow-up to see how they’re doing. Call, text or visit them and find out how you can help.