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Suicide a major problem in state

By submitted, 09/25/22 7:57 AM

LITTLE ROCK – According to the Arkansas Department of Health, suicide is the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas. In 2020, 583 Arkansans died by suicide. That same year, close to 46,000 individuals died by suicide nationwide. That is one death every 11 minutes.

The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2020, an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  By working together to recognize the signs, raise awareness of suicide and open the conversation with each other, you can make a difference and save Arkansas lives.

If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need.

In 2017, the legislature passed an act that ensured Arkansans were answering calls made from Arkansas to the crisis hotline. Now when someone calls the hotline, they are speaking to someone with knowledge of local resources available.

In the 2021 Regular Session, we passed Act 640. This act ensures that the crisis line employs individuals who have experience working with veterans.

Every month, the Arkansas 988 crisis call centers answer an average of 965 calls. Arkansans who are thinking about suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can now call an easily remembered number – 988 – to speak with a trained, experienced crisis counselor who will talk to the individual, listen to and understand their situation, explore options, help the individual create a safety plan, and direct the individual to additional resources or facilities if needed.

You can call or text. You can also chat online with a trained crisis counselor at 988lifeline.org.