In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month this September, North Dakota Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division is encouraging awareness of resources and key actions that can help save lives. While suicide prevention is important year-round, education, promoting compassion, learning and sharing resources during this month can help all North Dakotans be prepared to play an important role in preventing a tragic decision to be made by a struggling individual.
During the month of September, approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S. will have suicidal thoughts, 142,000 will attempt suicide, and 4,000 will die by suicide (Be the Change: How to Support Suicide Prevention Efforts This September – Suicide Prevention Resource Center (sprc.org)). In 2022, 171 North Dakota residents died by suicide, according to ND Vital Records.
“North Dakota continues to be impacted by suicide. We encourage everyone to create a safety plan both for themselves and for their loved ones, whether it be their teenager, their aging parent or themselves,” said Laura Anderson, Assistant Director, NDHHS Behavioral Health Division. “Our prevention efforts continue as we fund organizations to implement suicide prevention efforts with a focused goal of saving lives.”
Suicide prevention can and should happen everywhere that people live, work and play.
- Educate Yourself and Reach Out: Learn the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone in crisis. If you know someone struggling, offer a listening ear. Just knowing someone cares can be a difference-maker. NDHHS encourages North Dakotans to learn how to support a loved one. Resources can be found at behavioralhealth.nd.gov/prevention/suicide.
- Share Resources: Learn about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and share your knowledge. If you or someone you love is struggling with a crisis or is suicidal, call or text 988. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States. NDHHS Behavioral Health also encourages all individuals to download a Safety Plan Suicide Prevention | Health and Human Services North Dakota The Safety Plan can help guide a conversation with loved ones as well as for yourself should you find YOURSELF in a crisis. A plan for what to do before a crisis occurs is an important step in suicide prevention.
- Promote Compassion: Empathy and judgment-free spaces in your home, work and community enable those struggling to seek help without fear of stigma.
NDHHS’ Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health, safety and access to quality services. It establishes quality assurance standards for the licensure of substance use disorder program services and facilities and provides policy leadership in partnership with public and private entities. For more information, visit behavioralhealth.nd.gov.