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Suicide Prevention 2022: Creating Hope Through Action


September is Suicide Prevention month, and the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention campaign is “Creating Hope Through Action.” Perfectly situated only a couple of months after the United States launched the new National Suicide Prevention and Crisis Line. The new line, 988, was designed to be an easy to remember way for people to access help in times of need.

While a new crisis line increases the availability of needed mental health assistance, the stigma surrounding mental health conditions is still high and serves as a significant roadblock for individuals in search for help. Suicide and suicidal ideations are still widely seen as moral issues. In fact, in at least 20 countries suicidal behaviors are still considered criminal offenses and can result in substantial prison time (World Health Organization, 2016). According to recent data, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for people ages 10-34, and fifth for people ages 35-54 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2022).  Increasing awareness and reducing the stigma and shame associated with suicidal thoughts or behaviors is an essential part of helping individuals feel comfortable accessing available services.

Suicide Prevention Month is an opportunity to raise awareness for the reality of suicide around the world. It gives us the opportunity to highlight the efforts being taken to offer resources, education, and aid to those in greatest need. Through Benchmarks’ work to enhance trauma-informed practices in our various test of change projects, we recognize that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma are often linked to suicidal attempts and ideations.

More recent studies confirm findings shown in the original ACEs study between suicide attempts and childhood adversity. Research suggests that individuals with reported histories of ACEs have a higher likelihood of ever attempting suicide. Individuals with four or more ACEs can be up to 30 times more likely to ever attempt suicide (Hughes K, et al, 2017; Thompson, M.P., et al, 2019). In addition, research shows that suicidality and substance use tend to be linked which is also cause for September being Substance Use Prevention and Recovery month as well. Key components to consider when outlining suicide, substance abuse prevention, recovery education, and awareness strategies include:

  1. Helping individuals understand the connection between ACEs, overdose, and suicide;
  2. Providing simple and easy to follow resources and materials like this infographic;
  3. Helping those seen as “unaffected” by these crises understand how prevention helps us all.

Please join us this month in spreading awareness for Suicide and Substance Use Prevention and Recovery month by Creating Change Through Action. You can start by sharing the Additional Resources provided below.

Additional Resources

We find it important to continue to offer education and support to our partners who are working to address these issues. A huge thank you to our Benchmarks’ members and partners who do this work every day, you are appreciated!

Blog References

  1. World Health Organization. Ferrari AJ, et al. PlOS One. 2014 Apr 2;9(4): e91936. Mishara BL, Weisstub DN. International journal of law and psychiatry. 2016 Jan 1; 44:54-74
  2. Garnett MF, Curtin SC, Stone DM. Suicide mortality in the United States, 2000–2020. NCHS Data Brief, no 433. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. DOI:
  3. Hughes K, Bellis MA, Hardcastle KA, Sethi D, Butchart A, Mikton C, Jones L., Dunne MP. The effect of multiple adverse childhood experiences on health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet; 2017;2: e356-66.
  4. Thompson, M. P., Kingree, J. B., & Lamis, D. (2019). Associations of adverse childhood experiences and suicidal behaviors in adulthood in a U.S. nationally representative sample. Child: care, health and development, 45(1), 121–128.

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