Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. And in Florida, it’s ranked 32nd. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2019 over 47,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide.
Sandra Cumper Boynton is a mental health expert with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Broward County. She said in 2020, numbers in Florida showed a decrease in suicides.
"When there’s a crisis, people in the United States and everywhere bond together to ensure that they are supported of each other," said Boynton.
But suicide is still a big issue. Boynton said everyone can help prevent it.
"Suicide has become a public health concern. We’re looking at making sure that people are given the services they need, whether it’s mental health service or substance use service, we need to make sure that’s in place," she said.
Rick Wolfer with United Way of Broward County said one sign someone is at risk is a change in behavior. Things to look out for are:
"Social isolation, lacking connection, feeling hopeless, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, or feelings of panic of life is not worth living," Wolfer said.
Boynton said if you see something say something. Talk to the person you think may be harming themselves.
"When they’re saying I don’t want to be here, I'm not worthy, I'm worthless, when we hear this language we need to pay attention because they’re probably asking for help. As a friend, we need to listen and we need to hear. We need to help that individual get treatment," Boynton said.
And remember if you're struggling, people are standing by ready to help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support.