Suicide is a major, yet not often discussed, issue in modern society, and on Tuesday, the Trump administration took a step toward reducing high rates by launching a national campaign called REACH.
Fox News reported that digital ads will be appearing on the Internet Wednesday displaying a message that “suicide is preventable,” and that together, we can reduce the rates.
“As we face the tragedy of suicide in our nation, we must reach beyond what we have done before. We must change the way we think about, talk about, and address emotional pain and suffering. Suicide is preventable – but only if we empower ourselves and others with the knowledge, tools and resources we need to reach those who feel hopeless,” the website for the campaign says. “REACH is about preventing suicide. It is for and about everyone because we all have risk and protective factors that we need to recognize and understand.”
The website, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, provides information about the risk factors of suicide and what can be done to prevent it, with a note at the top that includes the phone number to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“Suicide is preventable. If you are struggling, or you are concerned about someone you know, please REACH out and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1 if you are a Veteran or service member), or chat online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.”
Second Lady Karen Pence is leading the effort in the administration to reduce suicides.
“Working together, we can implement this road map and end this national tragedy of suicide,” she said, according to Fox.
“All of us have been facing anxieties and isolation,” Pence said. “It’s OK to not be OK. … The best thing is to talk about it more, not less.”
“No one should be afraid to ask for help,” she added.
The effort is aimed particularly at veterans, who, according to Fox News, commit suicide at “a rate about 1.5 times higher than those who have not served in the military.” The outlet reported that about “20 veterans, guardsmen and reservists die by suicide each day.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams is helping with the effort and explained that the stigma around mental health issues needs to disappear, saying it is a much bigger threat than cigarettes or even the coronavirus.
“When we feel comfortable seeking help, and unless more people feel comfortable offering help without judgment, we’ll never reach those who need it the most,” Adams said, according to Fox.
In 2018, NBC reported that mental health and suicide is an issue particularly affecting men and boys, who are taught not to share their feelings.
“While teenage girls attempt suicide more often than teenage boys, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, boys are more likely to die by suicide. Suicide rates for teenage boys and girls rose steadily from 2007 to 2015. In 2015, there were 1,537 suicides documented for boys ages 15 to 19 and 524 for girls, according for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the outlet reported.
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