September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the rate of suicide in Maine, like the nation as a whole, has been increasing since 2006. On average, 257 Maine citizens die by suicide each year. The rate of suicide in Maine is highest of all northeastern states and 20% above the national rate. A Mainer is nine times more likely to die by suicide than from homicide.
In a 2021 CDC report, researchers found the number of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, while the percentage of individuals reporting unmet mental health care needs increased from 9.2 percent to 11.7 percent between August 2020 and February 2021. “Due to an increase in these mental health conditions and unmet mental health care needs, prevention and awareness of suicide is needed now more than ever,” says Stacey Cherry, mental health counselor at UMaine Machias. “Preventing suicide will require help from everyone, not just mental health professionals. Anyone can help save a life.”
A suicide prevention and awareness presentation and discussion led by Cherry will be held via Zoom from 6–7:30 p.m., Sept. 15. The event will focus on basic attitudes and beliefs about suicide, risk factors, warning signs and simple interventions and approaches to intervene with someone who may be contemplating suicide. The Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81820560299.
For more information about this event or to request a reasonable accommodation, call 207.255.1343.
If concerned about yourself or if you know someone who is having thoughts of suicide, call AMHC Crisis Services, 1.888.568.1112 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1.800.273.8255; or text START to 741-741.