With all eyes on the opioid epidemic, the suicide crisis has been allowed to quietly loom without much notice. In 1999, suicide rates began to trend upward among all age groups. Nearly twenty years later, this trend has not only persisted but has accelerated. Since 2006, the national suicide rate has increased rapidly, as much as doubling for some age groups, even while the other leading causes of death remained steady if not declined. As a result, suicide is now the second leading cause of death—what some might refer to as “preventable death”—among young people and adults 15 to 34, and the third leading cause of death among adults 35 to 44.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 6th through the 12th. This topic has not only started to get more attention in the last few months but remains a critical issue in need of effective solutions. For those incarcerated or involved in the criminal justice system, assistance for mental illness is often overlooked and it’s even more true for individuals experiencing suicidal ideation.