Jump to main content

It’s Okay to Talk about Suicide and Mental Health

Suicide Prevention

September 01, 2022

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.

If you have experienced loss due to suicide, we know this can be emotionally devastating. Often times, adults and children alike feel that they are alone when experiencing mental health issues. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness and 17% for youth aged 6-17. Like any other health emergency, it is important to address mental health issues and to support friends and family members who may be struggling and exhibiting warning signs of an illness such as changes in mood, sleep, or appetite or withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities. Adopt an open and compassionate mindset while actively listening when speaking with anyone you feel may be in crisis and encourage them to seek support and treatment.

Mental Health by the Numbers, annual prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults, by demographic group:

  • Asian: 13.9%
  • Black/African-American: 17.3%
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: 18.7%
  • Multiracial: 35.8%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 16.6%
  • Hispanic/Latinx: 18.4%
  • White: 22.6%
  • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 47.4%

“40% of LGBTQ respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months. More than half of transgender and nonbinary youth have seriously considered suicide.”

-The Trevor Project, National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2020

There are two counseling resources available at UNC to both students, faculty, and staff. The UNC Counseling Center offers appointments by calling 970-351-2496 or emailing unccounselingcenter@unco.edu. Additionally, the Psychological Services Clinic offers appointments by calling 970-351-1645.

While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.

Take Action:

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI and Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.