Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services Darcie Miller are recognizing National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is observed each year in September.
According to data provided by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 12th leading cause of death in New York State. It is the second-leading cause of death for 10–34-year-olds. On average, 132 Americans die by suicide each day. In 2019, the suicide rate was 1.5 times higher for Veterans than for non-Veteran adults over the age of 18. Ninety percent of those who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.
“People with mental health issues often feel isolated and alone,” Neuhaus said. “Orange County offers a variety of excellent resources to help. The County’s dedicated Mental Health Staff, under Darcie Miller’s leadership, work to provide awareness and the necessary resources. Suicide is an issue in all segments of society, and Suicide Prevention Month gives us another opportunity to bring awareness to it.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers the following suggestions for talking with someone at risk of suicide:
· Speak openly and honestly about your concern. Asking someone directly if they are considering suicide often provides relief.
· Be willing to listen with compassion and without judgment.
· Offer to help find support and assistance. Someone who is considering suicide often cannot see solutions to their problems.
· If you can, accompany the person to a hospital, an emergency room, a therapist, a member of the clergy, or other support who can help.
· Do not promise secrecy.
· Remove means of suicide or separate the person from the means if you can do so safely.
· After you’ve helped the individual connect with someone who can help, check in with them, remain involved and supportive as you can.
“Recognizing the signs of suicide can help to save lives,” Miller said. “Given the right information, everyone can intervene to get help for suicidal or at-risk family members, friends or acquaintances. Help is just a phone call away for residents who feel overwhelmed or think someone close to them is at risk.”
Miller noted that Orange County has a variety of suicide prevention resources for residents:
· The Orange County Crisis Call Center is available to any individual who has a substance use disorder, developmental disabilities, and/or mental illness, and to their loved ones, by dialing 311 or 1 800-832-1200.
· If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.·
Speak openly and honestly about your concern. Asking someone directly if they are considering suicide often provides relief.