September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and we’re teaming up with partners across the US to share resources and break the stigma that suicide brings.
According to CDC data, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts in 2018. The data is even more stark for Asian Americans. Suicide was the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, ages 15 to 24, in 2017, and AAPI women ages 65+ have the highest rates of suicide of all racial/ethnic groups.
Risk factors for minorities include the stigma with asking for help, issues of shame, perfectionism, bullying, barriers to accessing services, a family history of suicide, not wanting to be a burden to the family, and high parental expectations for transitional age youth.
Warning signs can be difficult to spot, but can be key to saving a life. Common signs include withdrawal from friends and family, dramatic mood swings, reckless behavior, showing rage or talking about revenge, sleeping more or less than usual and talking about hopelessness.
One of the ways you can help someone at-risk of suicide, is to look for the warning signs, provide support and engage in an honest conversation. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suggests having an open and honest conversation by:
- Talking to them in private
- Listening to their story
- Telling them you care about them
- Asking directly if they are thinking about suicide
- Encouraging them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist
- Avoiding debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice
When engaging with minority, immigrant or refugee populations, it’s important to be attentive to cultural, familial, spiritual, and language issues. Seeking out culturally and linguistically appropriate services can help to decrease these potential issues.
Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If a person says they are considering suicide:
- Take the person seriously
- Stay with them
- Help them remove lethal means
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
- Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room
If you or a loved one are facing mental health challenges and are seeking linguistically and culturally sensitive services, we encourage you to learn more about our programs at www.upacsd.com. We offer mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment for all ages and in multiple languages throughout San Diego County.
Suicide Prevention Resources
A free 24-hour hotline available if you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Press 1 for a dedicated line for veterans and their families.
Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support via text message.