During Mental Health Awareness Month We Must Address Suicide And Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD)

Mental Health issues have exploded throughout the country during the pandemic. Just about everyone has felt the stress of ongoing life and death concerns related to COVID-19 and its variants. More and more people are crumbling under the pressure and experiencing depression from mild to serious. But some groups of people are more vulnerable to chronic stress than others especially young people and those struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD) as well as those who suffer from chronic depression and other mental health issues.

2020 Suicide Statistics

In 2020, 45,979 Americans died by suicide.
Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Americans.
Every day, approximately 125 Americans die by suicide.
There is one suicide death in the US every 11.5 minutes.
There is one suicide death for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.
There are approximately 1,149,475 annual attempts in the U.S. (using 25:1 ratio) or one attempt every 27.5 seconds https://www.verywellmind.com/college-and-teen-suicide-statistics-3570768#citation-1:

We Must Pay Attention

The statistics are shocking and heartbreaking. We can no longer sweep mental health nor substance abuse under the rug and pretend they doesn’t exist. Both are mainstream problem and are interrelated and must be addressed openly.

According to one source, “More than 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer from depression, have a substance use disorder (SUD), or both. Depression and substance abuse combine to form a vicious cycle that all too often leads to suicide.” Another sad truth this source reveals is that “Many who experience such severe depression (as a result of Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and other conditions) frequently turn to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other risky behaviors to numb their pain and/or alleviate their negative feelings.” https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-and-suicide/

I sit on the board of #Same Here Global Mental Health Movement (https://samehereglobal.org/). The mission of the movement is to normalize society’s perception of mental health and make it part of our everyday conversation. #SameHere believes mental health lives on continuum and that we are all affected by life’s various stresses and trauma. Every person on this planet, diagnosed or not, is susceptible to this type of system breakdown – resulting in suicide – and we all need to pay attention.

Let’s do our part to help everyone, especially our loved ones who suffer from mental health issues and substance abuse issues. Not just during Mental Health Awareness Month, but year-round.