From 1999 to 2016, the suicide rate in half of all U.S. states increased by more than 30. Arkansas was one of those states.
Last year, suicide was the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas. There were 621 Arkansans who died by suicide in 2017.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to share resources and shed light on this highly stigmatized topic.
While suicide is often associated with mental illness, more than half of all people who die by suicide have no known mental health condition, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Researchers agree that multiple factors can affect an individual’s level of risk, such as economic hardship, relationship problems, substance use disorders, physical health problems, recent crises and a host of other factors.
Rural communities and communities with distressed economic conditions also show higher rates of suicide.
In the last legislative session, the General Assembly passed Act 811 which created the Arkansas Lifeline Call Center. This call center is housed in the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and answers calls to the national hotline that are made in Arkansas.
An average of over 1,000 Arkansans call the lifeline each month. Callers in crisis are able speak to someone here in Arkansas who has a strong understanding of the resources available in the state. This number is available for many reasons - whether a person is contemplating suicide or is having feelings of anxiousness, depression, hopelessness, or they just want to talk.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can access the Veteran Crisis Line by calling the national line and pressing 1. Anyone can also text the crisis line by sending TALK to 741741, or chat online at www.chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
The ADH Injury and Violence Prevention Section works to prevent suicides through education, resources, and awareness. To learn more about the trainings and resources that are available for your group, business, or school, visit http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/suicide-prevention.