The Illinois Department of Public Health announces the new national service to provide confidential support and discusses the topic of suicide, who is at risk, and the warning signs.
Where can you go for help?
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, there is hope. You are not alone because there is a service providing 24/7 connection to qualified, confidential support.
The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline will connect you with a trained crisis counselor who can help. You can call or text 988. There is also a chat feature available at 988lifeline.org.
What is the prevalence of suicide?
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. In Illinois, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths annually. For young adults 15 to 34 years of age, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in Illinois.
Who is at risk?
Suicide does not discriminate based on race, gender, or age. However, there is a higher risk of suicide for those diagnosed with a mental illness.
In fact, the risk of suicide is increased by more than 50% in individuals affected by depression. Studies also show that roughly 90% of individuals who die by suicide have one or more mental disorders.
Why are we so reluctant to discuss suicide?
Suicide is recognized as a chronic epidemic. Despite the overwhelming numbers, the tragedy of suicide is still hidden by silence, stigma, myth, and shame.
Many mistakenly believe that talking about suicide causes it to happen. This belief has been around for decades. However, experts agree that suicide is preventable.
Public education and awareness are pivotal in reducing the risk of suicide. Saving your own life or the life of someone you love may depend on your ability to recognize the warning signs of suicide and know where and how to get help.
What are the warning signs for suicide?
If you fear that you or someone you know may be suicidal, take action as soon as possible. Contact a mental health professional in your area or call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Consider whether you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:
- Threatening or planning to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for or assembling items necessary to harm or kill oneself
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
Where can I find more information about suicide prevention?
The Illinois Department of Public Health has a list of references and resources available to the public.
Additionally, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides information and support for those dealing with concerns of suicide for themselves or others.
Remember, if you need emotional support, or have suicide-related concerns for yourself or someone you know, even if you're not sure there is a problem, please call or text 988 for immediate assistance. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available at no cost to callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.