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A Look at Suicide Prevention in 2022

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A Look at Suicide Prevention in 2022


If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are in a crisis, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Lifeline provides confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 

September was declared National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008 because there is an overwhelming stigma that surrounds suicide and makes it a difficult topic to approach. Although suicide can seem taboo to talk about, it does not mean it is not something that is affecting people daily. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 46,000 people died by suicide in 2020. That is equivalent to about one death every 11 minutes. 

Suicide Statistics 

To get us started, let us look at the facts that surround suicide. While rates of suicides increased from 2000 to 2018 by 30%, rates did decrease in 2019 and 2020. But recent studies observed how the COVID-19 pandemic affected mental health and suicide. The CDC found that twice as many people have had serious thoughts about suicide compared to before the pandemic. In 2020, 1.2 million people attempted suicide, 3.2 million made a plan for suicide, and 12.2 million people had serious thoughts about suicide.  

To read more about 202 suicide statistics, click here. 

Suicide Does Not Discriminate 

To show the range of who suicide affects, we can look at the difference in age groups, race/ethnicity, and gender. Four times more men died by suicide than women in 2020. The highest suicide rate in women was ages 45-64 and men over age 75 were the highest rates. American Indians experienced the highest rates of suicide compared to any other race or ethnicity. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for age groups 10-14 and 25-34.  

Suicide Prevention 

On October 17, 2020, a law was passed for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to become 988 instead of 1-800-273-TALK. The new number would not go into effect until July 16, 2022, but it was a step in the right direction when it comes to suicide prevention in America. The hotline can be reached by dialing or texting 988 and provides 24/7 access to mental health professionals. In fact, around 200 local and independently owned crisis centers work in the Lifeline network.  

Many organizations have created action plans to help prevent suicide: 

The World Health Organization states that ‘“Creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) from 2021 – 2023. This theme is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us. 

The CDC outlines a plan that includes the following information to prevent suicide for states and communities: 

  • Strengthening economic support 
  • Access and delivery of suicide care 
  • Teaching coping and problem-solving skills 
  • Identifying and supporting people at risk 
  • Lessen harms and prevent future risks 

Read more about the CDC’s Suicide Prevention Plan, here. 

How AFSPA Helps 

The Foreign Service Benefit Plan offers wellness programs for mental wellness. Through programs like myStrength, AbleTo, Digital Coach Programs, Lifestyle and Condition Health Coaching, and Telehealth, FSBP members can receive help to manage depression, emotional concerns, stress management, anxiety, and more. Check out our mental wellness programs in more detail here. 

Recently, AFSPA partnered with Brightline which is virtual behavioral health support for kids and FSBP members who live stateside have access to this great program. We covered Brightline in our recent AFSPA Live and on our podcast AFSPA Talks. AFSPA’s theme for 2022 is “Physical Health Leads to Better Mental Wellness – A Link to a Better You.”  

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