State Agencies Announce Efforts to Save Lives Through Suicide Prevention and Awareness

9/8/2010

Suicide Prevention Week is September 5 -11, 2010

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are working together on suicide awareness. Suicide Prevention Week is September 5 through the 11. More than 1,000 people die by suicide in Illinois every year.

"Mental health problems can affect anyone and are serious illnesses that demand the same urgency and compassion as any other illness," said IDHS Acting Secretary Grace Hong Duffin. "We all need to learn how to support our friends and relatives who may be feeling suicidal. It only takes one person to prevent a tragic death. All persons with mental illnesses can recover and participate fully in life."

"It Only Takes One" is the slogan of the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance (ISPA). It refers to the huge impact one person can make in preventing a death by suicide. ISPA plays an advisory role to Illinois' Department of Public Health, and contains a broad array of public agencies, private groups, and concerned individuals.

"With this combined public awareness campaign, we show how screening, identification, and treatment can save lives and guide persons in crisis towards recovery," said IDPH Director Damon Arnold, M.D. "It is crucial that Illinoisans become more aware that death by suicide is preventable and lives can be saved if suicidal tendencies are detected early."

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Every 15 minutes, someone dies in this country by suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 25-34 year olds in the U.S. It is the third leading cause of death among youth; the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65, and the fifth leading cause of death among children who are 5-14 years old.

"We have made great strides eliminating the taboo about discussing suicide and mental illnesses." said Lorrie Jones, Ph.D., the Director of the IDHS Division of Mental Health (DMH). She urged everyone to visit the "Say it Out Loud" website at (www.mentalhealthillinois.com ) "People are more likely to ask for help if they believe they can recover. We have asked persons who are in recovery from mental illnesses to tell their stories. They are available on 'Say It Out Loud' to inspire people in crisis to take that first step in seeking help. The idea is to replace hopelessness with hope."

IDHS/DMH serves more than 180,000 Illinoisans with mental illnesses through a network of 162 community based agencies, 30 community hospitals and 9 state operated mental health centers.

If you are in crisis now or if you or someone you are concerned about is in a crisis state and at risk of harm to yourself, others, or property, or at risk of psychiatric hospitalization, you may exercise any of the following three options:

  • Call 911 (Police and fire department personnel are trained responders to situations involving mental health issues.) or
  • Go to the Emergency room at a local area hospital or
  • Contact the nearest provider of crisis psychiatric services. (Hyperlink to DMH crisis provider list)

For more information on resources and actions that you can take see: