Mental health expert: Suicide is a year-round problem but can be prevented

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It may be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but having that talk could save someone's life

(WKBN) – September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As this month comes to a close, health care professionals, therapists and many others are reminding people that suicide is a year-round problem.

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

It may be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but mental health experts say having that talk — not just in September, but any time of the year — could save someone’s life.

Suzette Miller, with Mercy Health, says it’s never too early to intervene.

“The earlier you catch it, the more likely you’re going to be able to assist that person, and get them to where they need to be and the help they may need.”

NAMI says 75% of all people who die by suicide are male. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly four times more likely to die.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 and the fourth-leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54.

According to NAMI, the overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001.

Miller says you should act quickly on any kind of warning sign.

“The biggest thing for people, to keep their eyes open, their ears open, listen and empathize, and reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. It’s better to reach out and be wrong than to not reach out and lose someone.”

If you or someone you know needs help, there are resources.

You can always call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Help Network of Northeast Ohio is another great resource that offers local suicide hotlines and help for specific situations and people, including substance abuse, veterans, those with special needs, and people struggling with food or housing.

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