Skip Navigation

Preventing suicide

  • Scott LaMar
National suicide prevention month, September. Banner, Holiday, poster, card

National suicide prevention month, September. Banner, Holiday, poster, card

Airdate: September 21, 2022

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Nearly 46 thousand American died by suicide in 2020 and about 1.1 million attempted to take their lives. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the nation.

But those cold numbers don’t tell the story. There are many people struggling with depression and studies have shown the number of people suffering from bouts of mental illness has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amanda Hammock, Mayor of Morton in Delaware County and Chief of Staff for State Representative Jen O’Mara attempted suicide twice. Today, she is outspoken about people talking to one another when they’re in pain or depressed and thinking about taking their own life. She told us on Wednesday’s Smart Talk about led to her suicide attempts, “It was a combination of past trauma and being kind of silent about it. I was taught that we don’t talk about things. We don’t talk about the skeletons in the closet, so to speak, and we don’t reach out. And I didn’t have anyone in my immediate circle. I didn’t have anyone even, going through school or anyone that was around that said to me, hey, you’re looking kind of, down or you’re looking kind of sad or, anything that broach the conversation of, are you having thoughts of harming yourself? Are you having thoughts of suicide? Nothing that breached that conversation with me. Silence and trauma are absolutely the deadliest combination you possibly could have because that’s what led up to it.”

Dr. Williametta Simmons Ph.D. is a psychologist and was asked why we don’t talk about suicide more,”I really just think the biggest reason is because, number one, there’s the stigma of mental health. But I also don’t know that we’re equipped with how to bring it up. How do we broach with someone? What do we say? What’s the right way to say it? What’s the not so great way to say it? And a lot of times, because there is a lack of awareness and education around how to broach the issue, people remain silence. So I think Govan (another guest) was mentioning earlier how when you were talking about losing a brother to suicide, people saying how did they know how they did die? What the cancer was it this. And I doubt that anyone ever said was a suicide, you know. And then when you do reveal what was the cause of that, there is this debt, at least from my experience. A lot of times there’s silence or it’s followed by an upward pivot where it’s like, let’s just talk about some random thing. Yeah. When in reality, no, let’s talk about it so that we can get to a place where it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable to discuss. Because how else do we heal? How else do we support when we’re not actually discussing the issue?”

Govan A. Martin III, Suicide Prevention Alliance Chair/Executive Director, talked about the warning signs to look for if someone who thinking about suicide,”A relationship change or lack thereof. So, when there’s a breakup that occurs, but it doesn’t have to be an intimate partner. It can be actually, a relationship distance between parents or relationship distance between children or siblings or friends. That lack of a relationship is huge. That’s usually the number one warning sign. But then we have financial difficulties, job difficulties. You know, talking about suicide is one actually change of behavior, acting reckless, isolating oneself. There’s a multitude of behavior. If we look at the changes and losses in someone’s life. And we see that there’s a change in behavior. One of the best things that we can do is we just ask them, what’s going on with you real simple and don’t have to ask them necessarily or anything about suicide right away. But we ask them, so what’s going on? I’ve noticed, that you’re drinking way too much right now. I’ve noticed that you’re, where you are very outgoing now that you’re just so quietly living with what’s going on with you.”

If you someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to talk or get help.



Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Smart Talk

Famed attorney William Costopoulos details his colorful career in new book