With post-pandemic rises in anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and substance use across all ages, September has been designated as National Suicide Prevention Month in Howell with a focus on creating awareness of suicide prevention, mental health support resources and crisis helplines, according to Christa Riddle, Alliance Coordinator, Substance Use Prevention and Mental Health.
In 2020, 45,979 Americans died by suicide and 1.2 million Americans attempted suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent statistics. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 20- to 34-year-olds and the third leading cause of death for 10- to 19-year-olds in the United States.
Suicide Prevention Month aims to raise public awareness of suicide prevention, education and support resources. Throughout the year, the Howell Alliance provides community members with mental health information and suicide prevention information as part of its mission to prevent substance use and to promote mental well-being while ending the stigma surrounding these topics, according to Riddle.
To commemorate the month, the Howell Alliance will host a free virtual QPR suicide prevention training session on Sept. 28 from 7-8:30 p.m., with a focus on youth suicide prevention.
QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer – the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.
Just as people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and then use the question, persuade and refer strategies to assist someone with getting help, according to Riddle.
Pre-registration is mandatory to participate. Use this link to reserve a spot:
The training is offered by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey and is made possible by a grant from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, according to Riddle.
With suicide and mental health/substance use disorders, immediate intervention and professional assistance save lives, as does knowing, recognizing, responding to and taking seriously the warning signs of suicide: talking about dying or death, feeling hopeless with no reason to live, having a suicide plan, expressing great shame, feeling trapped without solutions, sharing about unbearable pain, using alcohol or drugs more often, changing daily behavior and grooming habits, giving away special possessions, and withdrawing from family and friends. The QPR training covers these critical areas of suicide prevention, according to Riddle.
It is also important to be familiar with suicide prevention resources to use and share:
• 911 should always be called in an immediate crisis, emergency or dangerous situation;
• National Suicide, Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Hotline (24/7, talk or text): 988;
• NJ Hopeline (24/7): 855-654-6735;
• 2ndFLOOR Youth Helpline (24/7, talk or text): 888-222-2228;
• Crisis Text Line (24/7): Text “Home” to 741741.
For more information, call the Howell Alliance at 732-938-4500, ext. 4012, or