On average, one person dies by suicide every 10 hours in the State of Alabama, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Across the U.S., 129 people commit suicide each day.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the nation – it ranks second for ages 25-34, and third for ages 15-24.

In order to create awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide, the entire month of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month.

Throughout the month, it’s important to spread awareness, take time to reach out to those in need and help others understand the severity of suicide.

In 2017, the AFSP states 47,173 Americans died by suicide — there were 1.4 million attempted.

Unfortunately, its severity has not always been recognized. It wasn’t until 1958 that the first suicide prevention center was opened in Southern California and the nation’s first task force was assembled in Phoenix, Arizona, by the National Institute of Mental Health to discuss the status of suicide prevention in the country.

In 2001, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration created the country’s first program aimed at serving people at risk of suicide through local, certified crisis centers.

This month, get involved with local organizations and, most importantly, listen to those who need help. While there have been great strides made in addressing suicide, there is also a lot of work left to be done.

Too many people at risk for suicide still do not seek help. We need to find better ways to reach people who suffer from mental illnesses and are considered at risk. Together, we must continue to encourage schools, workplaces and communities to make mental health a priority.

It’s time to start talking about suicide prevention.

Our View On the Issue is an opinion of The Reporter’s editorial board that includes Publisher Kim Patterson and Managing Editor Taylor Beck.

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