Shining A Light on Suicide Prevention Strategies


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By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services

There has never been a better time to focus on suicide prevention in youth. SAMHSA’s 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that young adults ages 18 to 25 have the highest rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts of any age group. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, showed that in 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death among children, youth, and adolescents ages 10 to 24, behind automobile accidents.

 

On Monday, May 6, SAMHSA will host the 14th Annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, an event that has brought a national spotlight on the importance of caring for every child’s mental health while reinforcing that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. This year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention: Strategies That Work.” The livestreamed event will showcase evidence-based suicide prevention strategies that can save lives to connect those in need to information, services, and supports.

 

Additionally, more than 1,100 communities and 170 national collaborating organizations and federal partners across the country support National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day each year by participating in community events, youth educational programs, health fairs, art exhibits, and social networking campaigns.

SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Efforts

I am proud to say that SAMHSA—in partnership with other agencies, states, communities, tribes, territories, institutions of higher education, and health care systems—is spearheading the federal government’s efforts to address suicide. The SAMHSA-funded Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides information and resources for families, friends, coworkers, health providers, and the public, including a database of evidence-based practices to prevent suicide. SPRC also offers a page specifically dedicated to addressing how schools and educators can play a role in keeping students safe. Another initiative is the Zero Suicide framework for improving suicide prevention within health systems.  SAMHSA also supports the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-272-TALK{8255}), which provides free an confidential help to anyone in crisis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 

Additionally, suicide prevention will be the focus on May 17 during SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week (NPW)—to be held May 12–18. SAMHSA will encourage individuals, communities, and organizations to participate in an NPW Facebook Live Day for Suicide Prevention by posting live videos on Facebook sharing suicide prevention messages, hotline numbers, and other resources with the hashtag #NPW2019.

 

Suicide prevention is not limited to any one strategy; it is best achieved through a multifaceted approach that involves everyone playing a role. That’s why SAMHSA is bringing attention to these resources and so many other supports at this year’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day observance.

 

Remember: No matter your role—whether it’s starting the conversation, providing support, offering hope, or directing those in need to help—there are strategies that can help you. Strategies that work. Strategies that can save lives. To join the national conversation, please join us on May 6 by tuning into the live webcast from 3:00-4:30 PM EST and use the hashtag #HeroesofHope on social media during the event and throughout the month of May.

 

Additional Suicide Prevention Resources

 

 



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