September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, followed by National Bullying Prevention Month in October.
According to cdc.gov, there could be a relationship between bullying and suicide.
How Common Is Bullying?
- About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide, including cyberbullying.
- Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them;
- had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%),
- had more social influence (50%),
- were physically stronger or larger (40%), and/o
- had more money (31%).
The National Institute for Mental Health Information reports that suicide is a Leading Cause of Death in the United States, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2019:
- Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,500 people.
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
- There were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141).
Mental health concerns have grown during the pandemic, with many having suicidal thoughts. Reach out to friends and family that you haven’t heard from, especially those that live alone. If you know someone that is suicidal, read these suggestions on how to handle the situation.
How to Help a Suicidal Friend:
Listen: People who are suicidal sometimes think that no one cares or notices them. They think no one will want to listen or take their concerns seriously.
Don’t be afraid to talk to them about their thoughts. It will be helpful to know where their mind is and if there are specifics causing the thoughts of suicide and depression.
Give them your full attention, and don’t try to make light of the situation, or slip in some jokes. Just give them your time and affirm their feelings.
Ask your friend if they have a suicide plan. This step will tell you just how urgent their need is. If they have planned out the steps get IMMEDIATE help for them.
Remove dangerous objects. Look for razors, sleeping pills, guns, knives, or anything that can be used for strangulation and remove them.
Tell someone you trust. Don’t make promises to keep their suicidal thoughts a secret. That will cause you to feel the weight alone, and you never have to do that. Always tell someone you trust and encourage children to always tell an adult.
Support your friend. After listening to their concerns, encourage them to take one day at a time and sometimes just a moment at a time. Tell them that although this seems overwhelming right now, that it can change in an instant.
Try to help them understand that suicide is final; you cannot go back on your choice to take that step.
If you feel someone is "high risk" never leave them alone, not even for a minute. Take their threats seriously. If you are on the phone with them, keep talking to them and have someone else call 911.
Due to the lockdowns caused by COVID-19, people are online more than ever, and parents have more on their plate now than ever. Children are spending more time on social media, which presents more opportunities for cyberbullying. Check-in with your children, take notices of changes in their attitude and behavior. Discuss suicidal thoughts and explain to them what steps to take should they find themselves in a situation with a suicidal friend.
Members of Impact have access to mental health counseling. If you need more information, please chat with a team member on our website confidentially.
Consider printing these resources and placing them somewhere visible.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
800-273-8255 (Veterans, press 1)
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline (Substance Abuse)
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline