National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is a week-long campaign happening every year in the U.S. The dates for the 46th annual National Suicide Prevention Week in 2019 are Sept 08 – 14. Where the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is the sponsor of this campaign.
Goals of the National Suicide Prevention campaign
In the U.S., suicide is the 10th major cause of death. In 2017, 47,173 people have committed suicide. That is 14 persons per 100,000 population. Among these, 77.97% were males and 22.03% females.
Suicide occurs in almost all demographic groups. But the rates of suicide and suicide attempts are different depending upon gender, age, race, and ethnicity. In people aged 15 – 34 years, it is the second major cause of death.
While, among the total affected people, 1.11% were children, 13.25% youngsters, 32.40% adults, 35.07% middle aged people, and 18.16% people with age above 65. National Suicide Prevention Week involves the general public and health professionals.
NSPW informs them about the prevention and warning signs of suicide. This campaign works to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide. And also provides support and mental health assistance to people who have attempted suicide.
The health organizations also play their role as part of NSPW. These organizations conduct screening tests to detect depression. That may include online or self-administered tests.
Warning signs related to suicide
Suicide isn’t limited to a single cause. Mostly, it occurs when stressors surpass the coping abilities of a person. Conditions like anxiety and depression, when not addressed early, can increase the risk of suicide.
According to the data by AAS, on average one person kills himself/herself every 11.1 minutes. That is 1 female every 50.6 minutes, and 1 male every 14.3 minutes. While the number of deaths is 3.54 times more in males than females.
And among different ethnic groups, the rate of suicide in white men is 29.9 per 100,000 people. In 2017, about 40 – 50% of the U.S. population has been exposed to suicide, at some point in their life. While the number of survivors of suicide loss is 1 every 62 Americans. That is more than 5.3 million.
Looking for a change in behavior can help identify a person at risk of suicide. A person wishing or trying to hurt himself or looking for methods to kill himself by getting access to firearms or pills etc. indicates a warning sign. Other signs may include dramatic changes in mood, rage, hopelessness, anxiety, or no reason to live.
NSPW recommends that if a person observes someone with these warning signs, he should refer him to get treatment from a professional. Addressing issues like depression and anxiety on time can reduce the risk of deaths from suicide.