As the week of homecoming festivities winds down to an end, so does National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide Prevention Week is an annual campaign in the United States designed to inform the public about suicide prevention and the signs of suicide. The campaign began on Sunday, Sept. 8 and will end on Saturday, Sept. 14.

In the U.S. alone, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all ages. Approximately 45,000 Americans take their lives each year and nearly 800,000 people world wide. On a scale of time, this relates to a death about every 12 minutes.

In people from the 15-24 age range, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Teenagers in this day and age deal with much more stress than what older generations had when they were younger. It can be very difficult to deal with all alone. As the school year starts up again, numerous old stressors have come back to play, so it becomes increasingly important for everyone to keep their mental and physical health in line.

Warning signs can be different for each person. Verbally, people may express feeling like a burden, talking about wanting to end their life or about feeling numb. Some show behavioral changes, such as looking for a way to escape, isolating themselves from others or withdrawing themselves from activities.

How can you make a difference? Check on your friends, loved ones or whoever it is in need. The best thing one can do in that situation is to be there for them and listen to them. If you find yourself at a loss of words, then tell them, but also let them know that you’re there for them, and that they’re not alone in their struggles.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts please talk to an adult or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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