Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month

Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic.

Arkansas saw a 36% increase in the suicide rate from 1999 to 2016.

Suicide is the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas. In 2016, there were 546 suicide deaths, which is more than double the amount of homicides that year.

Sixty-seven of those deaths were youth ages 10-24.

Earlier this year, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) opened the Arkansas Lifeline Call Center, which is now answering calls made in Arkansas to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The opening of the call center was mandated by Act 811 of the 2017 legislative session. This is the first call center for the national line to be operated by a state health department in the nation. Previously, Arkansas was one of two states without an in-state call center, which meant that calls were being answered out of the state.

Callers in crisis are able to speak to someone here in Arkansas who has a strong understanding of the resources available in the state. Whether a person is contemplating suicide or is having feelings of hopelessness, the hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Veterans can access the Veteran Crisis Line by calling the national line at 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.

Anyone can also text the crisis line by sending TALK to 741741, or chat online at org.

The following are 12 Suicide Warning Signs from the

• Sleeping too little or too much

• Talking or posting about wanting to die

• Making plans for suicide Anyone can be a life-line to someone considering suicide. It doesn’t take special training or licensing to help prevent suicide. The five steps to helping someone at risk are: 1. Ask.

2. Keep them safe.

3. Be there.

4. Help them connect.

5. Follow up.

Take some time this month to reach out to those in your circle of acquaintences and look for warning signs. And most of all remember it only takes one person to prevent a suicide. Be the one. Find out how you can save a life by visiting


• Feeling like a burden

• Being isolated

• Increased anxiety

• Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

• Increased substance use

• Looking for a way to access lethal means

• Increased anger or rage

• Extreme mood swings

• Expressing hopelessness

From State Representative Deborah Ferguson