Breaking the Stigma: Suicide

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

September is National Suicide Prevention Month | GUIDE, Inc.
Suicide Prevention Month Poster. Image from

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As a survivor of  losing a family member to suicide, and falling victim to suicidal tendencies, this subject is close to my heart. There are several stigmas that society holds around suicide. I do not have a large enough word count to refute them all.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2019 in the U.S., men were more than three times as likely to commit suicide than women. It is believed by 93% of adults that suicide can be prevented. 427 suicides in 2019 were children under the age of 15. There were 1.38 million suicide attempts in 2019. Click here for more national statistics.

703,000 people die annually via suicide worldwide. In 2019, over one in a hundred deaths were the result of suicide. Men are twice as likely to commit suicide than women globally. Find these global statistics and more here.

We, as a community, society, and population need to do better to start a conversation. Science shows that speaking up about sexual health education helps people perform safe sex; so then why do we believe that not talking about suicide will fix suicide rates? 

  1. Start A Conversation

When has not talking about something ever solved the problem? Start a conversation with your friends, with your family, with the community. Not everyone’s opinion can be heard, but everyone’s opinion can still matter. 

  1. Help Change Perceptions About Suicide 

Second of all, society views “suicide” as a tragedy, a loss, and overall a bad thing and “suicidal” as attention seeking, an irritation, and easily dismissable. This is our biggest issue. 

People should not feel as if their painful life is a burden that someone else “just doesn’t have time for.” Ask yourself: 

  • “If I believed anyone was serious about committing suicide, would I really not have time to help them?” 
  • “If I were in those shoes, what would I want in response?”

Not everyone who has ever been suicidal stays that way. Many people improve over time. That is not to say “Oh, you’ll get over it,” because while you struggle it can be one of the most difficult obstacles in the world, but that does not mean it’ll be hard forever. 

  1. Get Involved And/Or Raise Awareness About Suicde 

Join the university in the fight for suicide by participating in the Out of Darkness Walk on October 2, 2021 or the Hike For Hope, which will take place at Claytor Nature Center on May 7th, 2022, according to Jamie Smith, the university wellness coordinator. All the proceeds from the Out of Darkness Walk will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). AFSP has raised over 29.8 million dollars towards suicide prevention

If you knows someone who of thinking about committing suicide, commiting self-harm, or hurting others please contact the National Suicide Hotline at +1-800-273-8255, the University of Lynchburg hotline at +1-866-943-5787, Campus Safety and Security at +1-434-544-5555, or

contact the University of Lynchburg’s Health and Counseling Center at +1-434-544-8616 or first floor of Hundley Hall.

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