It’s September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Let’s start with awareness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, rates of death by suicide have increased in this country by 35% from 1999 to 2018. More specifically, the rate has increased by 2% every year from 2006 to 2018. The overall rate of death by suicide in 2018 was 14.2 people per 100,000. For men, the rate is higher than the rate for women, with a suicide rate of 22.8 per 100,000 for men and 6.2 per 100,000 for women. The rate for women, however, increased by 55% between 1999 and 2018.
According to the most recent data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of death by suicide in state prisons was 21 per 100,000 up from 14 per 100,000 in 2001. In federal prisons the rate in 2016 was 12 per 100, 000 down from 13 per 100,000 in 2001. In local jails, the rate of death by suicide in 2016 was 46 per 100,000 down from 48 per 100,000 in 2000.
These rates tell us despite our efforts in training, education and suicide prevention within our jails and prisons, people are still choosing to take their own lives.
Suicide is the intentional ending of one’s own life. Think about that. Just sit and think about the fact that thousands of individual human beings, every year, decide that the life they have should end. Many of these individuals experienced emotional and cognitive distress beyond what they believed they could handle and saw death as the best possible choice in the moment. They likely felt alone, isolated, trapped and hopeless. Like there was nowhere to turn. We can change that.Continue reading