September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont (NAMI) is actively involved in the fight to address mental illness and suicide prevention throughout the state.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month - a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic.

In addition to shifting public perception, NAMI advises using this month “to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide” by ensuring that “individuals, friends, families, and the community have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.”

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. Suicidal thoughts and suicide occur too frequently but, as described in a news release, “should not be considered common and can indicate more serious issues.”

In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark.

Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

“Suicide is a community health issue. We need to change the culture that we live in and let people know that it is OK to talk about suicide and mental health,” NAMI Vermont Executive Director Laurie Emerson said in a news release.

While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic.

According to state data, 110 people died by suicide in Vermont in 2019.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34. More than 12 times as many people died by suicide in 2020 than in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.

Slightly more than half (53.64 percent) of all suicides in Vermont were committed with firearms, and 88.06 percent of firearm deaths were suicides.

There are resources available if you, or someone you know, is contemplating suicide:

• Crisis Text Line: text “VT” to 741741

• Suicide Hotline: (800) 273-8255 (TALK)

• Pathways Vermont Support Line: (833) 888-2557 (VT-TALKS)

• NAMI Vermont Connection Peer Support and Family Support Groups:

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