More than 700,000 people die by suicide every year, and many more attempt to take their own lives. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death amongst 15 to 19-year-olds, and the pandemic has only exacerbated mental health conditions — spurring a staggering 25% increase in anxiety and depression, according to a new brief by the World Health Organization. Please know that you are never alone. The all-too-frequent deaths by suicide of public figures like Stanford soccer team captain Katie Meyer, as well as members of our communities across the U.S., mean most Americans have been impacted in some way by suicide. This ongoing upswing serves as a tragic, crucial reminder that we need to keep talking about about suicide prevention and awareness.
Take some time to take stock of your own mental well being, and that of those around you. Here are a few ways to do so, according to health experts, and those who have struggled themselves.
Local Stories From the Bay Area and Marin
Dr. Jei Africa, director of behavioral health and recovery services (BHRS) for the County of Marin, shares his thoughts on what steps can be taken to help prevent tragedy in our community. Read the full article here.
The Loss of Two Novato High Students Turns Attention to Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention Education
The story of Novato High teens Jackson Talbott and Warren Ruehle, and the work of Highway Patrol Sergeant Kevin Briggs to try and prevent more tragedies like these occuring. Read the full article here.
Why suicide is a big issue in Marin and the Bay Area, and how we can help tackle it. Read the full article here.
A first person account of one of the men who paint the Golden Gate bridge, tackling the difficult side of this beautiful landmark – the thousands of people who jump off the bridge every year. Read the full article here.
Our Founder, Susan B. Noyes, writes about her daughter Emma’s struggles with her own mental health: “My daughter’s life looks practically perfect. No one would ever guess that Emma’s brain tortures her continuously with a looped cacophony of critical, negative, self-loathing thoughts. But, that’s exactly what she has wrestled with since she was 12 and suffered the onset of clinical general anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).” Read the full article here.
Tools for Coping
We asked mental health experts to share some additional, and perhaps lesser-known, warning signs and risk factors of suicide.
Risk Factors include:
- Bipolar disorder and major depression
- Celebrity suicides
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Warning Signs include:
- Sudden calm or improved mood
- Becoming obsessed with a death
- Giving away possessions
There is no true barometer—individual or collective—for how people are doing, as the magnitude of what the world is facing far outpaces what we have seen in this century. What is certain is that the automatic response, “I’m fine,” is likely untrue.
Here are strategies to open space so people might share more about how they are doing or what they need. Read the full article here.
Psychologists explain some of the more elusive emotions you may be feeling amid the coronavirus pandemic and how to handle these feelings. Read the full article here.
Recent studies show that more and more teens are struggling with mental health. Major depression is on the rise among Americans of all age groups, but the increase is particularly pronounced in teens and young adults.
Here are 5 important steps to positive mental health for teens:
- Get enough sleep
- Implement a routine
- Don’t skimp on down time
- Make time for friends and family
- Model mindfulness
Parents often struggle to discern between moodiness that is typical teenage behavior and what could be a larger mental health issue like depression. Here’s what you need to look out for.
There are many conversations that parents are uncomfortable having with their kids, but talking about suicide is particularly challenging. The topic is an important one, though, so we asked experts for their answers to some common questions parents have about whether to even broach the subject and, if they do decide to, what is the best way to do so.
Resources for Parents
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Youth Suicide Warning Signs
- Mental Health America
- Mental Health First Aid — an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis
When it comes to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, treatment works, and there are a multitude of resources and organizations at the ready to help you or someone you love who is struggling.
To help prevent suicide and recognize the warning signs to help people at risk, the CDC recommends BeThe1to.com as a resource. The CDC also recommends reducing access to lethal means, such as firearms and medications, among people who are at risk of suicide.
- American Psychiatric Association
- Mayo Clinic
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Morgan’s Message (strives to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community and equalize the treatment of physical and mental health in athletics)
If you are suicidal or suspect someone else is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Or, visit online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Local Suicide Prevention Hotlines
National Suicide Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255
Marin County: Call 415-499-1100 or, in Spanish, 888-628-9454
For grief support, call 415-499-1195
To volunteer (extensive training provided) call 415-499-1193
Or email us for info email@example.com