The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention and national and local suicide prevention organizations have been working tirelessly to halt the growth of suicide rates in Michigan. As part of the effort, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared Sept. 6-12 Suicide Prevention Week. This according to MDHHS.
“Michiganders may be experiencing increased levels of emotional distress due to the pandemic and, therefore, it’s critical for people to know there are resources available and help raise awareness about suicide prevention,” said Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS Medical Director for Behavioral Health.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in both Michigan and the nation, and a top five leading cause among individuals who are 10-54 years old, according to MDHHS.
According to MDHHS, Michigan has higher rates of suicide among people who are 10-19 and 25-44 years of age compared to the nation as a whole. Michiganders can help lower these rates by knowing the warning signs of suicide, encouraging those at risk to seek help, and having open and honest conversations about suicide.
“Suicide is a major public health concern across Michigan,” sad Dr. Brian Ahmedani, Chair of the Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission. “On behalf of the Suicide Prevention Commission, we applaud Governor Whitmer’s declaration to support suicide prevention week. Our Commission is working hard with leaders and partners from across our great state to gain a better understanding of this problem as well as determine the best ways to leverage key opportunities and resources to prevent suicide across Michigan.”
Warning signs for those at risk of suicide include:
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Threatening to or talking about wanting to hurt oneself.
- Loss of interest in activities.
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Change in eating and sleeping habits.
If you are in a crisis, or know someone who needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the MDHHS Suicide Prevention website for more information.
Additional emotional-support services for those who are feeling emotional distress during the COVID-19 pandemic are available at Michigan.gov/StayWell or by calling Michigan Stay Well Counseling via the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” to talk to a counselor 24/7.