Member of our Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force, Dr. DeQuincy Lezine received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 SAMHSA Voice Awards. Read the Task Force’s monumental document, The Way Forward.
Suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem.
Suicide takes life without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race, or gender. Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans, the 2nd leading cause of death for adults ages 25-34, and the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24. The legacy of suicide continues long after the death, impacting bereaved loved ones and communities.
Fortunately, there is strong evidence that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates. In fact, suicide rates have been declining among both American youth and elders for well over a decade, two groups on which the nation has focused most. There are other population groups, though, for which the death toll is rising.
The time to change these statistics is now.
As our nation pulls together and focuses on our individual and collective roles in suicide prevention, we can develop effective strategies to prevent suicide and its devastating aftermath. Everyone has a role to play. A public health approach considers long-term prevention strategies, as well as crisis responses. It leverages large systems changes and targets specific vulnerable populations who are at higher risk.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) will ensure a sustained, nationwide public health effort, as it implements the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, to accomplish the ultimate goal of eliminating the tragic experience of suicide.