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HHS Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

AUSTIN – During the month of September, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is working to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and increase awareness about suicide prevention. HHSC encourages Texans to learn about available resources and to become aware of the common warning signs of suicide.

“We want every Texan who’s facing a crisis, or knows someone who is, to know that you are not alone and help is available,” said HHS State Suicide Prevention Coordinator Tammy Weppleman. “It’s important that we share every resource at our disposal and have conversations about this serious public health issue.”

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide was the second leading cause of death for Texans ages 10 to 34 years old and nearly 4,000 people were lost to suicide statewide.

The most common warning signs of suicide include talking about or writing about suicide, expressing hopelessness or worthlessness, planning or looking for a way to kill themselves, increasing use of substances and withdrawing from family and friends.

If someone is at risk for suicide, it’s important to act right away, offer hope and get help as soon as possible. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK) is available 24/7 to connect people in crisis and concerned family members with counselors for emotional support and other services.

In addition to the crisis line, Texas is highlighting other resources to help Texans in need:

  • The Crisis Text Lineprovides access to free counseling through text messaging 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Text TX to 741741 for assistance.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255 (TALK) offers guidance and assistance for people and their loved ones experiencing thoughts of suicide.
    • Dedicated line for veterans: press 1.
    • For people who are deaf and hard of hearing: use your preferred relay service or dial 711, then 800-273-8255.
    • For Spanish speakers: La Red Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 888-628-9454.
  • The Suicide Prevention Wallet card, in Englishand Spanish, quickly identifies warning signs and specific steps to help someone who is struggling.
  • The Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Grant Program enables communities to identify and address mental health needs of veterans and their families.
  • The Texas Mental Health Program for Veterans is a community-based resource for veterans and their families struggling with suicide.
  • HHS offers free Mental Health First Aid eight-hour courses to public school and higher education employees to help them recognize risk factors and warning signs of a person in distress and how they can reach out to help and connect them with resources.
  • People can call the Local Mental Health Authority in their area to be connected to mental health services.

For more information about suicide prevention, visit the HHS Suicide Prevention webpage.

Author: Faith Huffman

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