There is help for those in crisis | September is suicide prevention month

Mental health conditions affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, it’s an opportunity to “shift public perception, spread hope and share vital information” to those affected by suicide.

The phone number 988 is now available nationwide as the new way to seek help for mental health, substance use and suicide crises. It’s a simple, easy-to-remember way to reach emergency professionals — just like 911. This new number will allow people to quickly connect with support during a crisis, 24/7, no matter where they live.

Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are 4x more likely to die by suicide; 79% of all people who die by suicide are male. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–14 and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 in the U.S. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S. Of those who die by suicide, 46 percent had a diagnosed mental health condition — but research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. The highest rates of suicide in the U.S. are among American Indian/Alaska Natives followed by non-Hispanic whites. Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. Transgender adults are nearly nine times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

Among the highest priorities for the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is preventing suicide among service members, veterans and their families.

According to WDVA Director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, since 2019, the department’s suicide prevention program has worked tirelessly to provide aid to those experiencing suicidal ideation.

“In the past year, our suicide prevention team has increased from a team of one to a team of eight, with four Peer Specialists placed strategically throughout the state of Washington in our NW, SW, Central and Eastern regions. Each specialist is uniquely qualified to provide peer-based consultation, education, and connections to resources,” he wrote in a press release. “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and it is toward that end the Washington State Legislature provided funding to the WDVA to bolster our efforts.”

If you would like to learn how to become a suicide prevention advocate, or are in need of assistance please call Codie Garza or any member of the Suicide Prevention team at, or 360-522-2894.

Crisis resources

• If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately.

• If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at

• You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.