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Elk Grove Citizen

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 01, 2024 09:34AM ● By Scott Knight, The Jason Foundation

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Since 1949, Mental Health America and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of May as Mental Health Awareness Month by reaching millions through the media, local events, and screenings. It raises awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities. Cities and businesses across the country hold various events to support mental health and open up the lines of communication. Many websites provide ideas for businesses to support their employees during May and beyond.

According to the CDC, suicide rates in our country increased by 36% between 2000-2021. Suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021 alone, which is about one death every 11 minutes. We know that many mental health disorders-including depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and PTSD-come with heightened risk of suicidal thoughts or attempts. While seeking help for suicidal thoughts or behaviors is critical regardless of the cause, securing a specific diagnosis may help the individual receive treatment-especially ongoing treatment -that is best suited to their mental health needs.

Mental Health America says that up to 60% of people who die by suicide have major depression, and research suggests that the majority of suicides are related to a psychiatric condition. If you or someone you know is depressed, there are effective treatments available. Talking to your doctor is a fantastic first step, and you can also visit the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness to learn more about support groups that you might find helpful.

The Jason Foundation is another valuable resource. JFI is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of suicide through educational and awareness programs. On its website, you will learn about warning signs and risk factors associated with people who may be struggling with mental health issues and suicidal ideation. JFI’s website also has more information about finding a Jason Foundation location near you. We know that four out of five individuals considering suicide give some sign of their intentions, either verbally or behaviorally. In 80% of those considering suicide, we have an opportunity to recognize the warning signs and intervene. Take the time to educate yourselves on the warning signs and risk factors associated with suicide. This knowledge may help you save the life of a friend or loved one.