U.S.Sees Highest Annual Rate of Suicide in 15 Years, PsychAlive.org Offers Free Resources to Educate the Public on Prevention

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With the latest data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that the rate of U.S. suicide has been increasing since 2000, the nonprofit website PsychAlive.org is offering free information and educational tools on warning, signs, treatment, and prevention that can help save a life.

The recent increase in suicide, whether heightened by economic strain or other social triggers, signifies the need for education and training on understanding and preventing suicide.

The CDC report showed that between 2008 and 2009, the suicide rate increased 2.4 percent, with 36,909 suicide deaths reported nationally. In August 2011, the CDC reported that in 2008, 13.4 percent of people who committed suicide had experienced job and financial problems. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an emergency crisis hotline reported a 14 percent increase in call volume between 2010 and 2011, showing that education and training like that offered by PsychAlive.org are important to addressing this crisis. The CDC’s recommended increasing counseling, job placement and financial services that can help reduce the mental distress that can increase suicide risk.

“The recent increase in suicide, whether heightened by economic strain or other social triggers, signifies the need for education and training on understanding and preventing suicide,” said Dr. Lisa Firestone, Director of Research and Education at PsychAlive and Violence and Suicide Prevention Alliance. “The suicidal state is both preventable and treatable. Services and education have been proven to save lives. Armed with the right tools to identify the warning signs and implement helper tasks, we can fight this crisis.”

Between 2008 and 2009 an estimated 8.3 million adults (almost 4 percent of the U.S. adult population) reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, according to the CDC. More than 2.2 million adults reported making suicide plans in the past year, and more than 1 million adults reported attempting suicide in the past year.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 percent of American adults suffered from mental illness in 2010, but only 39.2 percent of that group said they received treatment. With this decrease in U.S. mental health services, the general public, schools, law enforcement, healthcare providers, and military personnel would all benefit from education on suicide prevention.

The free website, PsychAlive.org, provides suicide prevention advice that includes information on warning signs, risk factors, helper tasks and strategies for prevention and intervention that have proven effective in reducing suicide risk and completion.

European countries with strong social safety nets and services have shown little increase in suicide rates, even in rough economic times, according to data collected from Eurostat and the World Health Organization, proving that education and services can make a difference. Organizations like The Glendon Association that provide education and assessment are important to reducing the rate of suicide in the country. Over the past 30 years, Glendon has conducted research and developed effective assessments for both suicide and self-destructive behavior.

About PsychAlive: PsychAlive is a public mental health resource created by The Glendon Association, a non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives and enhance mental health by addressing the social problems of suicide, violence, child abuse, and troubled interpersonal relationships. PsychAlive and Glendon provide educational resources, publications, films, and assessment tools focused on violence and suicide prevention, assessment and treatment PsychAlive’s Director of Research and Education, Dr. Lisa Firestone educates the public and mental health professionals on how to identify risk factors and effective treatment and assessment to help prevent suicide.

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Individuals in crisis or who know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK


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Carolyn Firestone
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