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In the United States, there is a severe public health issue with suicide. Every 11 minutes, someone commits suicide. In California, for example, approximately 4,000 people committed suicide in 2020.  

The annual observance of World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10. The purpose of the day is to increase awareness and discourage suicide. Countries worldwide are hosting events and donating resources to raise suicide awareness. “Create Hope Through Action” is the theme for this year. The goal is to show people who may be struggling that there is hope available in the community. 

Let’s examine suicide prevention in more detail, including the link between substance use disorder and suicide, what to do if you have suicidal thoughts, and how to support family members who are exhibiting any warning signs.

What Is the Link Between Suicide and Substance Use?

Substance use disorder and suicide are intensely connected. In actuality, the risk of dying by suicide is 11 to 14 times higher in those who use alcohol or drugs.  Substance use lowers inhibitions, increases feelings of depression, and alters other thought processes, increasing the likelihood of someone committing suicide. 

The struggle with substance use disorder also co-occurs with other mental health issues. For instance, studies suggest that between 21% and 42% of people with co-occurring bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. 

What To Do if You Experience Suicidal Thoughts?

If you are experiencing feelings of hopelessness and have had some suicidal thoughts, there are other options to consider. When you are depressed or have negative thoughts, it can cause distorted thinking. There are numerous resources available for information and suicide prevention.

When you have these thoughts, you can reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can call or text 988 anytime or anywhere in the U.S. for 24-hour support. Or you can always reach out to a health care professional or spiritual leader for help.

How To Help a Loved One Who Is Displaying Warning Signs?

If someone you love is displaying any warning signs, there are some ways to help. For example, if they are talking about suicide or having thoughts of suicide, make sure to listen to them without judgment. Some other warning signs are drastic changes in behavior or mood, changes in personality, or self-harming behavior. You can encourage your loved one to reach out for help. Suicide is preventable — if you reach out, you can decrease the likelihood of a suicide attempt.

Reach Out To Hope by the Sea

If you have any suicidal thoughts or are struggling with a substance use disorder, Hope by the Sea is here to help. We also offer a dual diagnosis program to help treat substance use disorders and any other underlying mental health issues that you may have. In addition, our family-owned treatment center in San Juan Capistrano, California, offers many different treatment options. So let our Hope by the Sea experts help you regain control of your life today.