Translated: Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life. That’s a sobering statistic to ponder today, on 2021’s World Suicide Prevention Day.
“In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 34,” Biden wrote.
“And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic compounded, for many, feelings of isolation, exhaustion, and economic and public health-related anxieties. Increased rates of depression have sparked concern that we will see a further increase in suicide rates.”
“The mean weekly number of these visits was 26.2% higher during summer 2020 and 50.6% higher during winter 2021 compared with the corresponding periods in 2019,” the CDC researchers wrote.
“If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, please know that you are not alone and help is available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or through the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741,” Biden wrote.
“Next July, the new Mental Health Crisis Line 9-8-8 will take effect. By expanding the crisis line and investing in our Nation’s crisis care infrastructure, we have the opportunity to prevent suicides and save lives,” he continued.
There are ways each of us can help prevent suicide. Here’s how to do your part.
Recognize distress signals
There are many risk factors that can lead to an increase in thoughts about taking one’s life. It’s important to recognize these in yourself or a loved one, experts say, because many people do not talk about their thoughts of suicide in advance.
Economic distress is a reality facing millions who are out of work right now due to Covid-19-related job loss, social isolation or quarantine.
Look for actions
- Increases their use of alcohol or drugs or starts to behave recklessly, such as driving while intoxicated or without a seat belt.
- Has extreme mood swings, from euphoria to the depths of depression or appears agitated, expresses rage or talks about seeking revenge.
- Sleeps too much or too little or withdraws or isolates from others.
- Appears to be in unbearable psychological pain or talks about being hopeless or a burden to friends or family, or talks about feeling trapped or having no reason to live.
- Begins to search online for ways to kill themselves, such as buying a gun or obtaining medical prescriptions.
- Begins to give away prized possessions or visits or calls to say goodbye.
Be sure to regularly check on loved ones. During the pandemic families and friends are more isolated and alone and many warning signs may be tough to recognize. Listen carefully when you talk to them about to their concerns and observe how they are expressing themselves.
If you are having suicidal thoughts
CNN’s Mallory Simon and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.