• CPs - Suicide 150

    Using Research, Education, and Advocacy to Combat Suicide

    Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) reported that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. AFSP is a nonprofit organization that recognizes this as a serious public health issue and works to reduce the loss of life from suicide. 

    AFSP partners with scientists to develop groundbreaking research, educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects, and critical policy work. The organization strives to understand and prevent suicide through research, education, and advocacy, and to reach out to individuals suffering from mental disorders or those who have been affected by suicide. 

    According to AFSP, suicide is the second major cause of death among high school and college students and is even more frequent among older people. The organization was founded on the principle of funding research to identify ways to combat suicide and depression. Funding research studies and identifying potential treatments is an approach that is used in similar campaigns to fight heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 

    Information and Resources

    In addition to finding ways to prevent suicide, AFSP offers information and resources to those looking for help and those who have been impacted by suicide. Each year, AFSP sponsors International Survivors of Suicide Day to help individuals and families who have lost someone to suicide. AFSP offers support and information at healing conferences around the world for those affected by suicide. To learn more about International Survivors of Suicide Day, which will be held on November 17, 2012, you can view the “What is International Survivors of Suicide Day” video or click here for more information. 

    With suicide being such a major public health issue, it is important to recognize warning signs of suicide and how to respond to them. Below are some warning signs of suicide as outlined by AFSP and videos on teen suicide prevention. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255). 

    Warning signs of suicide include:

    • Observable signs of serious depression:
      • Unrelenting low mood
      • Pessimism
      • Hopelessness
      • Desperation
      • Anxiety, psychic pain, and inner tension
      • Withdrawal
      • Sleep problems
    • Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
    • Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
    • Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
    • Making a plan:
      • Giving away prized possessions
      • Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
      • Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
    • Unexpected rage or anger

    You can learn more about suicide prevention by reading Nichole Hamilton’s article on suicide prevention on our Articles and Publications section. Hamilton is an adjunct faculty member of our College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. To learn more about Teen Suicide Prevention you can view some of the videos listed below.

    Videos about Teen Suicide Prevention

    SOS Friends for Life: Preventing Teen Suicide Trailer”—developed by the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program that seeks to teach students how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidality in themselves or their friends. The program encourages help-seeking skills in students through the use of the ACT® technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).

    Ribbons of Hope: Maggie's True Story of Help & Hope for Teen Suicide Prevention”—developed by Mental Health America of Texas (MHAT). MHAT is a mental health education and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the systems promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and substance abuse, and achieving recovery from mental illness and addictions through innovative education, advocacy, and services.

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