Boise Honors World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 8-14

Despite its low profile in the media, suicide is actually an enormous (and growing) concern. Cities across the country, including Boise, are holding events to honor World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8th-14th). 

It’s important to raise awareness for suicide prevention today more than ever. The World Health Organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all report that suicide rates are actually climbing

On top of that, substance abuse and suicide are also closely connected. And it’s important to understand that addiction and suicide or depression can often go hand in hand. 

suicide

Suicide Statistics to Be Aware Of

The prevalence of suicide (especially in the United States) is much higher than most people imagine. Below are a few statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to help give some perspective to this pervasive problem. 

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts
  • In 2015, suicide and self0injury cost the US $69 billion
  • The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2017 was 14.0 per 100,000 individuals
  • In 2017 men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular
  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day
  • In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths

World Suicide Prevention Day Is Sept. 10

Also known as WSPD, World Suicide Prevention Day is today, and it’s observed every year. It was founded in 2003 and is a joint collaboration from three different organizations: the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH).

An estimated 40 countries held awareness events to mark the occasion in 2011. 

National Suicide Prevention Week Is September 8th-14th

Organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is a week-long campaign held annually from September 8th-14th. Its mission is to inform and engage both health professional and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide. 

Like World Suicide Prevention Day, NSPW is also focused on trying to reduce the enormous negative stigma surrounding the topic and depression as a whole. 

National Suicide Prevention Week has been helping raise awareness around suicide prevention since 1975 and is held during the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day. 

downward spiral

How Do Suicide & Addiction Coincide?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), suicides and suicide attempts are significantly affected by substance abuse. People who have and continue to struggle with a substance use disorder are especially susceptible to suicide. 

SAMHSA points out that

Disinhibition – or the removal of typical restraints we normally feel – is thought to be to blame. 

Studies have also shown that among alcoholics, suicide risk is around 10 times greater than that of the general population. And among individuals that inject drugs, the risk of suicide is around 14 times greater. 

It seems clear, then, that addiction and suicide are closely linked. 

Co-Occurring Disorders

For many people who struggle with a substance use disorder, their addiction is not the only mental problem they’re suffering from. This is what’s known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. And in fact, many addicts also struggle with other mood disorders like:

In fact, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about half of people who experience any kind of mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. 

On top of that, about half of people who experience a substance use disorder will also go through some type of mental illness at some point in their lives. 

To put that into perspective, about 1 in 5 adults in the US will struggle with mental illness. Among substance abusers, it’s around 1 in 2. That means addicts and substance abusers are about 2.5x more likely to suffer from mental illness than the rest of the population. 

As such, it’s incredibly important to partner with a rehabilitation facility that is knowledgeable in both diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders among recovering addicts. 

Can Addiction Lead to Depression & Vice Versa?

Yes. Many people abuse substances as a way to help them cope with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. And for some, this substance misuse and abuse can become a very real problem. 

Part of the reason is that so many people do not actively seek help for these underlying mental disorders. As a result, they go left untreated by solutions that actually make these disorders go away. And all that the individual is left with is the temporary solution of substance abuse, which often ends up being a long-term problem instead. 

Addiction itself can also actually lead to the development of depression too. The impacts that addiction has on one’s life can be massively detrimental. And the fallout can cause problems for relationships, financial stability, physical health, and even personal identity. As a result of these changes, an addicted individual can very easily spiral into a massive depression because of their substance abuse. 

What Is Idaho & Boise Doing to Honor Suicide Prevention Day/Week?

As a major city in Idaho, Boise is a hub for all sorts of charitable and cultural events in the state. And this year’s National Suicide Prevention Week is no exception. Below is a list of all the events taking place within Boise and the surrounding areas to honor it this year. 

  • Break The Silence Walk to End Suicide – Registration begins at 8:30 am, and participants will walk from 10 am to noon on Saturday, Sept. 14. The event will take place at Riverstone Park, 1805 Tilford Lane, Coeur d’Alene. Register at www.spannorthidaho.com.
  • Strength 2 Thrive – 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 14 to 8 am Sunday, Sept. 15. General festivities start at 7 pm. Takes place at Columbia High School, 301 S. Happy Valley Road, Nampa. Raising awareness about suicide with overnight walk-a-thon, speakers and testimonials, food, and free concerts by Kyler Daron, Sons of Country, and other artists. Walk-A-thon participants are encouraged to enter as teams of five and are challenged to raise $5,000 per team to donate to local and national suicide prevention organizations. The event is free. For more information, head to www.strength2thrive.org
  • Out of The Darkness Community Walk (Portneuf Valley) – Registration begins at 9 am on Sept. 14. The walk begins at 10:15 am and ends at 2 pm. The walk takes place in Cotant Park – Chubbuck, ID. Hundreds of thousands of people help Out of the Darkness to raise awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). These funds go towards investing in new research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy, and supporting the survivors of suicide loss. Click here to register online or for more information
  • Out of The Darkness Community Walk (Snake River Valley) – Registration begins at 8 am on Sept. 28. The walk begins at 10:00 am and ends at 12:30 pm. The walk takes place in Freeman Park – Idaho Falls, ID. Hundreds of thousands of people help Out of the Darkness to raise awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). These funds go towards investing in new research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy, and supporting the survivors of suicide loss. Click here to register online or for more information
  • Community Suicide Prevention Conference – Takes place on Friday, Sept. 13 from 7:30 am to 5: pm. It’s being held at Idaho State University, Idaho Falls. This conference is for everyone in the community. There will be several speakers at the event including author Karen Nielsen, Robert ‘Bob’ Stahn, Rhonda D’Amico, Becky Leatham, Marco Erickson, Andra Smith Hansen, and Richie Kuipers. 
  • 2019 Drive For The Hive Annual Golf Scramble – Takes place at the Plantation Country Club in Boise on Monday, Sept. 16 From 12 pm to 7:30 pm. The event raises funds to help the Boise Hive continue to offer suicide prevention and awareness services. Donations from $30 to $2000 will be accepted as entrance fees. 
  • SafeTALK – Taking place on Sept. 18 from 9 am to 12 pm at Family Advocates in Boise, safeTalk is a three-hour training in suicide alertness. Participants learn how to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them with resources that can help them in choosing to live. Registration is free. 

Other Boise Idaho Suicide Prevention Resources

There are resources in the Boise, Idaho area that residents can take advantage of. Below are some of the most helpful. 

  • The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-208-398-4357) – The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline provides crisis intervention, emotional support, and resource referrals to all Idahoans. Text or call to talk to someone now. Provides crisis intervention, emotional support, problem solving, and referrals to local resources for persons at risk for suicide and for those concerned about them. 
  • The Suicide Prevention Program The Suicide Prevention Program encourages the use of evidence-based programs and practices and seeks to coordinate prevention efforts across the state to create the first truly comprehensive approaches to suicide prevention in Idaho.
  • The Speedy Foundation – This organization’s mission is to prevent suicide, promote conversations to end stigma, and support mental health education. It also raises money for other advocacy groups with similar goals. 
  • The Idaho Saves Lives Project – The Idaho Saves Lives Project’s mission is to foster connectedness and resilience throughout Idaho school communities to prevent youth suicide. The Project brings comprehensive, evidence-based programs to communities statewide and strives in all of its efforts to help Idaho youth find the hope, help, and strength they need to flourish. 
  • NAMI Idaho – This organizations mission is to improve the quality of life for all those affected by mental illness through support, education, advocacy, and research.
  • The Live Wilder Foundation – Another Idaho-based youth suicide prevention organization, the Live Wilder Foundation’s mission is to achieve zero suicide among our youth through prevention, awareness, and direction to treatment around the disease of depression. 

connections

How Do You Know If Someone Is Suicidal?

Recognizing the signs of suicide in others can be tough – especially when they’re already suffering from a substance abuse disorder. But according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), some of the most notable signs include:

  • Talk – If a person talks about:
    • Killing themselves
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Having no reason to live
    • Being a burden to others
    • Feeling trapped
    • Unbearable pain
  • Behavior – Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss, or change:
    • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
    • Withdrawing from activities
    • Isolating from family and friends
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue
  • Mood – People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: 
    • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
    • Withdrawing from activities
    • Isolating from family and friends
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue

The AFSP also lists a variety of risk factors for suicide as well. These are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life:

  • Health Factors
    • Mental health conditions
    • Depression
    • Substance use problems
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Personality traits of aggression, mood changes, and poor relationships
    • Conduct disorder
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Serious physical health conditions including pain
    • Traumatic brain injury
  • Environmental Factors
    • Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
    • Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems or unemployment
    • Stressful life events, like rejection, divorce, financial crisis, other life transitions or loss
    • Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
  • Historical Factors
    • Previous suicide attempts
    • Family history of suicide
    • Childhood abuse, neglect or trauma

support

What Can Be Done to Prevent Suicide?

The first step to take after identifying the signs is to get help. You can do so by contacting The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-208-398-4357) or any of the other resources listed above.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are a few things you can do to help someone in emotional pain. 

  1. ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  2. KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  3. BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) and the Crisis Text Line’s number (741741) in your phone, so it’s there when you need it. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  5. STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

Northpoint Recovery Can Help

Whether you’re struggling with addiction, thoughts of suicide, or both, Northpoint Recovery can help. We specialize in treating a variety of co-occurring disorders including depression. And without the right type of help, co-occurring disorders can make recovery significantly more difficult than trying to kick an addiction alone. 

Northpoint Recovery is an accredited inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in Boise. We offer integrated care at our highly specialized treatment facility that’s catered to meet each patient’s specific needs.  

That means we treat addiction from a variety of angles, not just addictive substance detox and rehabilitation. We also treat mental health conditions, and medical care needs as well. This includes co-occurring disorders treatment. Our approach gives patients the absolute best chance at long-term recovery.

We are also nationally accredited by the Joint Commission and have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the entire region. And when it comes to addiction recovery, we are passionate about giving each of our patients the level of care they deserve.

So whether you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. 

Addiction and depression are both treatable. And at Northpoint Recovery, we can help. 

So get in touch with us today

How are you honoring Suicide Prevention Day or Week? Do you have any tips to help people who are struggling with depression or have a loved one who is? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. 

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