National Suicide Prevention Week

8 Sep

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  Our guest blogger, Jessica, writes about suicide and its stigma in our society.  Jessica has been personally affected by suicide.

I have an aspiration that one day, suicide prevention and awareness will be as talked about as breast cancer prevention and awareness.  According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that there will be 39,840 (female) and 390 (male) deaths in the United States due to breast cancer this year.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) states that in 2007 “more than 34,500 Americans died by suicide”.  I imagine that this number has not declined in the past three years, and would bet that these numbers have increased.

If these two diseases lose close to the same number of people every year, shouldn’t they both be talked about?  Shouldn’t there be commercials for suicide prevention just like there are for breast cancer?  Shouldn’t radio stations support suicide prevention walks just like they do for breast cancer, such as the Susan G. Komen walk?  Should the word “suicide” still be looked down upon?  Does any disease deserve more compassion and support than another?  Shouldn’t every disease deserve timely data?  Do you find it strange that I have numbers for 2010 for cancer, but the most recent numbers for suicide are from 2007?

My goal is for one day to hear talk show hosts, radio DJ’s, television commercials, and the general public openly talk about suicide awareness and prevention.  I believe all diseases deserve much needed support.  It makes me sad that survivors of suicide don’t get the same community support as others who lose their loved ones to cancer.  Many people don’t understand that a person who takes his/her own life is suffering from a disease.  Many people believe that suicide is a behavioral problem, or an environmental problem.  I hope with more awareness, our general public will understand that suicide is a preventable disease with appropriate treatment.  It is estimated that for every death by suicide, 6-7 people are directly affected and immediately gain the new identification as a “survivor of suicide.”  That is a minimum of 207,000 persons newly aware of the painful effects of suicide.  While this is a large number, it seems minute to the amount of people who are clueless to the disease.  Survivors need support.  I hope that the amount of people that attend suicide prevention walks dramatically increases.

One day we will all openly talk about suicide and find more ways to prevent the tragedy, just as we do with cancer.

Will you help me spread the word? First we need to talk about awareness, and then we need to prevent suicide.  Help me change the view of suicide.  Let’s no longer let suicide be stigmatized.  You and I can make a difference.

Here is some information which might help you help someone else:

Thank you,



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