Mental health should be at the forefront of our overall health, especially during these trying times when our communities have been put under immense stress. September was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and like mental illnesses, suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, race, religion, gender and socio-economic status.
Spreading vital information is key in raising prevention awareness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for people 35-54.
Suicide prevention awareness should go on beyond the month of September. It is important to recognize the signs as well as be an advocate and start the conversation. Conversations and story sharing are important because in some cases suicide can still be thought of as taboo and there is so much stigma behind the subject.
Spreading hope that there is someone there to listen can save many lives, as we never know what someone may be going through. Being aware of resources like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) is a great way to start.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Texas’ Region 11 (consisting of 19 counties) a total of 193 deaths by suicide was reported for the year 2019.
Suicide does not only affect the individual, but those around them. Many times a person at risk of suicide may be filled with mixed emotions that do not allow them to think thoroughly, so it is crucial that they know they have others around them who will understand and are willing to have a conversation about mental health without the stigma that the situation may come with.
Prevention Resource Center 11, a program of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, serves as the central data collection repository for Region 11 and is the developer of a yearly Regional Needs Assessment, which is available to community members at no cost and can be downloaded on our website: www.prc11.org/data. If you are interested in becoming a part of this data collection project and would like to play a role in the 2022 Regional Needs Assessment process or would like data presentations, webinars and more, please contact me at [email protected] or Karen Rodriguez, PRC data coordinator, at [email protected].
Eduardo Salinas, Public relations coordinator Prevention Resource Center 11, Pharr