In recognition of September as National Suicide Prevention Month, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the leading suicide prevention organization in the U.S., is empowering the public by recommending key actions that everyone can take to help save lives in their communities.
While suicide prevention matters every day of the year, National Suicide Prevention Month shines a light on this leading cause of death to connect people with support and to spread the hopeful message that help is available.
These efforts are more important than ever. After two years of decline, deaths by suicide increased in the U.S. in 2021, and provisional data from the CDC point to further increases in 2022. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S., but research shows it can be prevented.
“AFSP’s efforts to save lives are making a difference,” said AFSP Chief Executive Officer Robert Gebbia. “We see it in the legislation passed at the state and federal levels, the growth in knowledge about prevention from research, the rooms filled with people eager to learn how to support others at our educational sessions and in the strength of our survivor community gathering to heal across the country. Our work to bring suicide prevention to every corner of the nation is only possible because of dedicated people like you—we need your voice to let others know they’re not alone and that help is available.”
The more we openly, honestly, and directly talk about suicide, the more we can help to prevent it. In the spring of 2023, AFSP launched a campaign called Talk Away the Dark that centers on a public service announcement. The campaign shows the impact of simple, direct dialogue about suicide and how to initiate those conversations to save lives.
There are countless ways to Talk Away the Dark including initiating conversations about mental health, learning the warning signs and risk factors, speaking up and making sure more people know what research reveals about how to prevent suicide, lighting the way for those in distress to feel comfortable asking for help, and knowing what to say to support survivors of suicide loss.