September is Suicide Awareness Month and it marks the start of a movement to halt the increasing number of suicides each year. Hawaii and many other states are implementing programs to raise awareness on suicide. In fact, the Golden Gate board has approved the construction of a suicide barrier in San Francisco's landmark.
Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year. In 2013, an estimated 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Though the United States is at rank 43 in the worldwide suicide rate list, the government is promoting awareness to reduce the number of people who commit or try to commit suicide.
In Hawaii, the Governor's office issued a press release on Friday stating their planned programs to halt suicide attempts. "As a society, we need to do more to prevent suicide," said Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force Chairman Larry Walter in a statement.
He added, "Increasing public awareness of this health problem, including warning signs and risk factors, is one of the best prevention tools we have."
In San Francisco, since the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, it has become the single most used suicide spot in the country and second worldwide. Around 1,600 people have died from jumping off the bridge, Huffington Post reports. The construction of a suicide barrier may reduce the risk of suicides.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mark Pollack, who is the president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and Grainger professor as well as the chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago explains that people who are suffering from anxiety disorders and mental illnesses are at higher risk for suicidal tendencies.
He added, "Effectively diagnosing and treating both anxiety disorders and depression, especially when they co-occur, are critical pathways to intervening and reducing suicide crises."
Suicide warning signs should be dealt with seriously. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reiterates on the common warning signs of suicide such as talking about killing themselves, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped, and unbearable pain; abnormal behavior like alcohol abuse, searching for means of killing oneself, withdrawing from activities and calling to say good bye; and signs of depression, rage and loss of interest.