SPAM – Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Things are not always as they seem and evidence of this is SPAM. We all know SPAM is something that is either automatically removed from our inbox or something we can remove. In September, SPAM (Suicide Prevention Awareness Month) represents something entirely different and of indescribable importance.

In 2020 there were 45,979 deaths from suicide in the United States, equating to about one death every 11 minutes. According to WHO (World Health Organization) more than 700,000 people die from suicide every year, making it a serious public health problem. Mental health has taken a front seat in health care discussions, and rightfully so. Losing a loved one to an accident, or physical health issue is difficult enough, however, when someone ends their own life, the myriad and complexity of emotions are entirely different.

Human connections can be both distressing and liberating events. In today’s raging social enlightenment, it is easy to be lifted up or buried psychologically depending upon one’s ability to appropriately filter the tremendous amount of incoming data. Dysfunctional family units, divorce, substance abuse, bullying, and gender shaming are some of the ingredients that play a role in the rise of the number of suicides. Reality has shown us life can be incredibly challenging at times. Those who lack appropriate coping skills are at risk for mental health issues. Good social support can also be an important factor in helping someone suffering from a mental health issue. Research shows those who are socially isolated, or lack supportive family or friends have a higher percentage of suicides than those with a solid support system.

Mental Health has been kept behind a curtain for a long time. Even today, with all the evidence at our disposal regarding the importance of addressing mental health issues, it still carries a certain stigma. It is not well understood and without question there needs to be more research/studies done on the biological, psychosocial, and sociological factors which can amplify or buffer the risk of suicide.

As caregivers listening and watching for telltale signs of potential mental health issues a patient is facing might be the start of getting them the care they need. This is not an easy undertaking as patients don’t wear signs telling you they are in a crisis. Continuous education is necessary to help recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health issue. Updated information, as well as resources from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) are done frequently. Each state has a NAMI organization that will provide valuable resources to assist you with any patients having mental health issues. It is my sincere wish that you will never need this valuable organization.

Thank you for your continued trust in Industry Lab.

Lance Benedict

President/CEO Industry Lab Diagnostic Partners