Suicide is Everyone’s Business

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Healthy Franklin County will feature a blog post each Thursday that discusses various prevention strategies and resources available in Franklin County.

Suicide is a significant public health problem in the United States and Pennsylvania, which ranks 32 in the nation in its rate of suicide deaths. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania with one suicide occurring on average every five hours in the state. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 25 to 34-year-olds and the 3rd leading cause of death for age 10-24 in Pennsylvania. The mortality-suicide rate for Franklin County is 12.2, which reports the rate of death due to intentional harm per 100,000 people. This indicator is relevant because suicide is an indicator of poor mental health. 

Warning Signs and Risk Behaviors

Most suicide deaths are caused by a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, which often goes untreated or undiagnosed. Suicide is preventable and you can help save lives by knowing the warning signs and risk behaviors.

Talk. If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves

Behavior. Specific things to look out for include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

Mood. People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chances of someone attempting suicide. Health factors, such as mental or chronic health conditions and substance abuse disorders; environmental factors such as stressful life events, like a job loss, death or divorce, abuse or trauma, access to firearms, prolonged stressors such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems and unemployment; and historical factors such as previous suicide attempts and a family history of suicide attempts are all risk factors.

How Can You Help?

Ask questions, listen, be informed and non-judgmental. Here are few flyers with helpful information that you can share:

If you or someone you know is suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or the Keystone Health Crisis Intervention Program at 1-866-918-2555.

For more suicide prevention resources, click here.