Suicide Awareness: NOW Is the Time For Vigilance

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Suicide awareness flower - pink rose.
April 12, 2024

We have come a long way with regards to suicide awareness. Millions of us observe Suicide Prevention Week in some way. All of us were extremely hopeful when the new 988 Lifeline came about. We continue to be concerned, along with an enormous number of people, about the difficulties military veterans face. We all want the learning and the focus to continue in hopes that we can start to bring the number of suicides in the United States down.

Unfortunately, that has not happened. Nearly 50,000 people in the United States die by way of suicide every year, and that number is steadily climbing. It seems that today, like yesterday, is a day when suicide awareness has never been more important. That’s why the more we learn, the more we can hopefully make progress in our battle against this terribly tragic event that too many people endure along with their surviving loved ones.

As we continue to discover new things about suicide that contribute to its overall awareness, we are finding that some of this new information is quite surprising. In fact, one of the most widely assumed facts with regards to suicide is not entirely accurate, as it turns out. That belief centers on when during the year the highest number of suicides occur in the United States.

Read on below and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Suicides Spike Around the Holidays – Or Not

If you ask almost anyone when the highest number of suicides occur in the United States, the vast majority will say it’s in December or at least around the holiday season. We have even discussed the potential volatility of holiday mental health more than once, as it is a time when people who are already struggling tend to encounter even more difficult circumstances. We’ve offered information for putting holiday mental health plans together so people can navigate through this difficult time.

Several news stories and research papers have been released recently that show that December is definitely a time when we should all feel a sense of heightened suicide awareness. However, that’s not because it’s the month with the highest number of suicides. Instead, according to this study, December is the month when the highest number of people – not just Americans – experience suicidal ideation.

Yes, the holidays bring about great joy in many and intensified sadness and mental health struggles in others. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s the time of year when most people act on those suicidal ideas. Conversely, December is one of the lowest months for suicide of the entire year.

Instead, there’s a different time of year when the number of suicides is at its highest.

The Time For Suicide Awareness is Right Now

In what may come as a surprise to a lot of people, mid-late spring and into early summer is when the highest number of suicides occur. This may not make sense on its face, as spring is often seen as a hopeful and optimistic time. Winter is ending, the weather is starting to improve and people in this part of the world are starting to look forward to those warm summer months.

Sadly, for many people, the opposite is true. It’s a time when far too many people who may have been thinking about suicide a few months earlier decide to actually go through with it. According to data provided by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, May and June are the months where the highest rates of suicide occur in the United States.

Be Vigilant If You’re Concerned About a Loved One

If you are worried that a loved one is having these thoughts, then it may be helpful to know that we are entering the time of year when these acts take place at a high rate. It may also be time to trust your instincts if you’re concerned in this regard. If you think it’s a good idea, perhaps try to talk to this person. You certainly should not bring up suicide.

Instead, ask them some empathetic but general questions, such as:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Is everything OK?
  • Tell them it seems like they’re struggling, and that you really care about them.
  • Explain that you may not totally understand what they’re feeling, but that you want to listen if they think it would help.
  • Tell them they are important to you.
  • Mention that you want to help them however you can.
  • Ask them if there’s some type of help that they’d be open to experiencing.
  • Tell them you’d like to talk again, and that you’re always available to talk about things.
  • Reassure them that you care about them and that they are important to you and others.

What you should not do is judge that person, or even give that impression. You should also not expect to resolve the situation. That could take time, effort and professional intervention. Instead, just try to engage that person and keep the conversation going.

Get Help If You Have Been Having Suicidal Thoughts

If you have been having suicidal thoughts, then you need to take action as soon as possible to work on that serious problem. The first thing you should know is that it’s NOT wrong or abnormal to have these thoughts. Countless people experience them, and dealing with something like this is courageous.

If you’re thinking of acting on these thoughts, please call 988 or 911 and talk to someone immediately. Suicide is a mistake that cannot be undone. From there, you should talk to a mental health professional who can help you work through this difficult time.

The bottom line is that there is a solution out there for you, and it never involves this. Even if it seems like there’s no way out of the problems you’re experiencing, you need to know that there absolutely will be better days ahead.

SoCal Empowered Can Help

Suicide awareness is important for more reasons than we could ever list here. If you’re concerned about a loved one, please do something. If you’re concerned about yourself, then seek immediate help as mentioned above.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.

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