Don’t stay silent

September is September Suicide Prevention Month


Tara Winstead Pexels

the yellow ribbon is a symbol for suicide awareness (Pexels)

Becca Jolly, Managing Editor

People around the world are recognizing the month of September as Suicide Prevention Month. According to the Center of Disease Control, Oklahoma has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, with 869 deaths in the year 2020. The CDC also states that a total of 45,979 people died by suicide in the United States in the same year. 

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24. It is the second leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 14.  

While suicide rates in youth are lower, the self-harm or self-injury rates have been increasing rapidly, especially in women. The Pine Ridge Treatment Center says that not all people that engage in self harm are suicidal.  

The PRTC also states that over ten percent of teens have experimented with self-injury. 

Signs that someone is self-harming can include dressing wrong for weather conditions, risky behaviors, bruises or even scars. If you notice that someone is self-harming, don’t stay silent. Acknowledge their needs and be supportive. If you can, suggest that they use the Crisis Text Line to talk to someone. 

Unlike physical illnesses, mental illnesses are almost completely invisible. There are however many signs that a person may be contemplating ending their life. Some of these may include isolation, helplessness, too much or too little sleep, talking about wanting to die, along with so much more. 

If you know someone is having suicidal thoughts there are many ways you can safely help them. NPR says the easiest way to prevent suicide is to listen. If you think someone is going to attempt to end their life, don’t stay silent. Use the Five Action Steps to communicate.  

Everyone is at risk of suicide. Anything at any time could make a person want to end their life. Mental illnesses such as depression are one of the main causes for suicide attempts. The Mayo Clinic says that other causes can include physical or sexual abuse, gender identity, substance abuse, or exposure to a stressful life event.  

Studies show that people who have been exposed to suicide before are more at risk. 

While many people succeed with their suicide attempts, there are many people that don’t. Most people that don’t succeed become stronger and get through their struggles. They find support from others and get the help they need.  

Suicide survivors use the semicolon as a symbol of their survival. The semicolon shows that even though they could have ended their life, they chose to keep going.  

Many people wear the color yellow to represent suicide. Yellow Ribbon says the origin of this tradition comes from the story of 17-year-old Mike Emme. Emme ended his life on Sept. 21, 1979. His family urged him not to, leaving phone numbers on yellow paper. After he passed, teens in the area sent out hundreds of these yellow papers to help others. 

Yellow became the symbol of this program and to this day people wear yellow ribbons on the day Mike Emme passed, in memory of him and his beloved yellow 1968 Ford Mustang. 

People who struggle with suicidal thoughts or attempts are stronger than they know. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts or thinking about ending their life, please call the suicide hotline at 988 or visit for help.