The suicide rate in the U.S. has surged by 33 percent over the last 20 years to the highest point since World War II.
Who’s vulnerable and what factors are contributing to the growing number of people taking their own lives?
The national suicide rate increased in nearly every state from 1999 to 2016, making it the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15 and 35. Males and rural residents account for the majority of victims.
For non-Hispanic males in Bexar County aged 15-54, suicide is among the top 10 leading causes of death. Veterans comprised a quarter of those victims.
What steps have been taken to address the rising suicide rate? Are there evidence-based prevention methods that can be ramped up? How are the medical community and mental health professionals responding to these distressing numbers?
What conditions can lead to suicide? What does treatment look like? What resources are available locally?
For immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
For other resources in San Antonio, American Foundation For Suicide -South Texas Chapter
Michelle Mata, mental health wellness advocate, peer mentor, state trainer and longtime member of the San Antonio branch of the National Alliance for Mental Illness
Wykisha McKinney, board chair volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and program manager II for Zero Suicide Initiative at the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD in Houston
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, June 26.