Mental health is a serious epidemic that has progressively inclined over the years. Conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. According to http://www.nami.org, 1 in 5 adults experience some kind of mental health illness sometime in their life. Suicidal thoughts and actions are not normal and lead to more serious illnesses that can cause other mental conditions; left untreated, these thoughts and actions could lead to suicide.

We have dedicated September as the National Suicide Awareness Month. “The whole month of September, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness” (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.com). It is the month where individuals and organizations reach out to those affected by suicide and raise awareness and help those find proper treatment services.

According to the CDC, in 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older committed suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and the suicide rates in America have been rising ever since 2016.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to suicide. The CDC states that most people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of the death. Problems like: relationships, substance misuse, money, jobs, physical health and stress can all contribute to the risk of suicide and other mental health conditions.

Knowing the signs can help prevent tragedies like suicide and other mental health related deaths from happening. Taking steps and strategies when approaching mental health is very important.

Knowing the Warning Signs: www.save.org

-Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

-Talking about feelings of hopeless or having no purpose

-Social withdrawal from friends or family

-Sleeping too little or too much

-Aggressive behavior

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health there are resources out that are willing to help you. If you’re going through a rough time, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Or you can text NAMI to 741-741. In a school setting talking to a school counselor, trusted teachers or health professionals can help if you are experiencing something difficult.

The importance of mental health should be discussed year-round, but the month of September is dedicated for all to come together and shed light on this serious topic. Knowing the warning signs and what to look out for can help prevent tragedies from happening. Always remember that your words and actions do affect others and that one nice conversation can help change someones outlook on life.