September is Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month. Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about.  Personal mental health is all too often pushed aside and overlooked as a need or issue that deserves attention.  Without checking in with yourself and checking in with others, suicidal thoughts and depression can overwhelm even the strongest among us. 

To bring awareness and send a message to others in our area that we are in this together, the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is hosting its 13th Annual Walk in Memory & Walk for Hope community suicide prevention awareness walk, taking place in ten different communities across the State of Nevada, demonstrating how our community is connected by suicide and united in solving the problems that lead to someone taking their life. 

Held at Steptoe Park, this Saturday, Sept.14th, all and welcome and encouraged to walk in memory of a loved one or walk to show solidarity for those who may be dealing with depression or have lost others to the disease. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and opening ceremonies start at 10 a.m.  You can Pre-Register at www.nvsuicideprevention.org.  A $20.00 donation is appreciated and with that comes a T-Shirt. You can also bring a picture of your loved one so we can hang it on a community memory board during the walk.  

The vision of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention ensures all Nevadans feel hopeful and are connected to the resources they need. In so doing, the coalition hopes that all communities will be free from suicide.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for young people between the ages of 10-34 years old.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Leading Causes of Death Reports, suicide deaths in the United States claim the lives of over 47,000 people each year. The American Psychological Association is also sounding an alarm, reporting that rates of suicide in America have increased substantially over the past two decades, seeing a 30% increase since 2000.

Breaking down the facts about suicide, to view the data by the numbers, brings suicide into a shocking and heart breaking scope of fractured reality.  Suicide is on the rise in our state and in our country.  

•According to the Nevada state’s Office of Suicide Prevention the suicide rate among Nevada children and teenagers nearly doubled between 2017 and 2018.   

•The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention have identified Suicide as the leading cause of death for Nevadans ages 12-19 and the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 20-44.  

•For every teen that dies by suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 teens have attempted. One of the biggest risk factors for completed suicide is a previous attempt. 

•Nevada has the 2nd highest elder suicide rate in the country. 

•Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for Nevadan’s Native American males.

•Veterans comprise an estimated 20% of Nevadan’s suicides.

•More people in Nevada die from suicide than homicide and Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths combined in our state. 

Statistically, suicide rates are higher in rural areas, and Ely and White Pine County are as rural as rural can get.  Parents need to take a leading role in their children’s lives and can help in many ways to prevent suicide from taking a loved one. The Nevada Office of Suicide Preventoion identifies key factors that can guide parents in forming supportive relationships with their children. 

—Providing a stable, safe physical and emotional home environment. 

—Spending quality time with young people

—LISTENING to teenagers, not only to what is being said, but also to covert messages

Being supportive and not intrusive

—Encouraging the appropriate expression of emotions

—Early intervention in stressful situations

—Take Suicidal threats seriously

—Early detection and management of psychological illness

—Appropriate intervention after a suicide attempt

—Respond to abrupt or out of the norm behavior patterns

—If in doubt, seek out advice and help from professionals 

Talking about suicide leads to safer and more connected communities, not increased suicide attempts.  Young people, old people, all people need to know they have value, need to feel needed, and need to hear that they matter.  Supportive networks of people can help everyone thrive.

Join a sports team, a club, volunteer, become involved in groups, interact with seniors, become a member of a community and talk about mental health.  Put the phone down, turn away from social media, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and depression, and turn towards opportunities for real social interaction. Most importantly talk about your feelings and reach out to others you trust.  You have people who care about you. No one is alone. 

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.