The UPC Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Each year, over 800,000 people worldwide take their own lives, affecting grieving family and friends, and leaving a tragic imprint on communities. Fortunately, suicide is preventable. Building awareness of the warning signs and risk factors preceding a suicide attempt- along with proven interventions for treating suicidal ideation- can save lives.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to a recent publication of the Utah State Health Department, our state has experienced a sharp increase in youth suicide (ages 11 to 17) over the last decade. LGBTQIA+ youth represent an alarming portion of these untimely deaths. As a response, the Utah Pride Center is committed to raising awareness of suicide prevention, and provide vital services and resources in an effort to save lives.
Suicide and the LGBTQIA+ Individual
Being LGBTQIA+ is NOT considered a form of mental illness, but that does not mean that we do not have mental health concerns. Stigma and discrimination experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community may contribute to higher rates of substance abuse, mood disorders and suicide.
As for anyone else, higher levels of stress increases the risk for developing mental health problems.
Warning Signs Someone May Be Considering Suicide
Often, there are signs someone may be contemplating suicide.
Moderate risk factors include; unrelenting low mood, hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, unexpected anger, inner tension, withdrawal, sleep problems, increased drug/alcohol use, recent impulsiveness and taking unexpected risks.
High risk factors include; sharing a strong wish to die, making a plan, giving away prized items and sudden purchase of a firearm.
If you, or someone you know, show signs like those listed above- or others signs that were not listed- it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible.
Seeking and/or Providing Help for Suicide
If someone you know shows signs of contemplating suicide, or confides in you about suicidal feelings or a plan to attempt suicide, there are things you can do. Provide help by listening without judgment, and express concern for their feelings. Take threats seriously, and ask about a suicide plan. When you feel the risk of suicide is high, involve family and friends, remove lethal means (firearms, knives, pills, etc), and seek professional help as soon as possible.
For 24/7 Support During a Crisis…
Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741.
Or call the SafeUT Line at 1-800-273-8255.
These crisis lines can provide emotional support and intervention when you, or those you know, need it the most.
The Utah Pride Center Can Help…
The Utah Pride Center’s Community Counseling Center offers a non-judgmental place for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies to receive support and one-on-one/couple’s/family therapy for a variety of concerns. These range from coming out to gender identity to issues with anxiety, and from depression and substance abuse to challenges in work and housing.
The Pride Center also offers an array of free support groups, yoga and dance classes. Our Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA) in particular is designed to cover issues related to suicide. The 8-week closed group will cover topics such as giving and receiving support, coping with thoughts of suicide, accessing resources and creating hope. SOSA is a safe, non-judgmental place for LGBTQIA+ people to talk about their common experiences.
If you are interested in one-on-one, couples or family therapy, email the Community Counseling Center at email@example.com, or call 801-539-8800.
If you are interested in attending our SOSA group, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 385-831-0872.
A list of support groups, along with other opportunities such as yoga or dance, is provided under the Programs and Calendar sections of our website (www.utahpridecenter.org).
– The Community Clinical Team
For more information on National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, visit: http://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month