National Suicide Prevention Week

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National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.[1] By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance and support people who have attempted suicide.[2]

As part of the campaign, health organizations conduct depression screenings—including self-administrated and online tests—and refer interested individuals to a national toll-free telephone number.[3][4] Since 1975, NSPW awareness events are held throughout the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on the 10th of September. The dates for the 41st annual NSPW in 2015 were September 6–12.[5]


As of 2011, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), which sponsors NSPW, estimates that there are over 4.6 million survivors of attempted suicide in the United States.[6][7][8] As of 2009, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. annually, with 33,000 fatalities resulting from approximately 1.8 million attempts every year.[3] Researchers report that more than 90 percent of suicide fatalities had depression or "another diagnosable mental illness or substance abuse disorder."[3] According to Major David Reynolds, chief of Clinical Health Psychology at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, "The vast majority of people don't commit suicide because they want to kill themselves, but as a way to end the torment of not being able to cope with their problem."[9] Suicide rates for young adults aged 15–24 rose 136 percent from 1960 to 1980.[10] Suicide remains the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 12–24.[7][11]


A 2009 U.S. Army report indicates military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans, and more active-duty soldiers are dying from suicide than in combat in the Iraq War (2003–2011) and War in Afghanistan (2001–2021).[3] Colonel Carl Castro, director of military operational medical research for the Army, noted "there needs to be a cultural shift in the military to get people to focus more on mental health and fitness."[12]

Suicide rates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults in the U.S. are three times higher than national averages.[11] According to some groups, this is linked to heterocentric cultures and institutionalised homophobia; in some cases, including the exploitation of LGBTQ people as a political wedge issue, such as in contemporary efforts to halt the legalization of same-sex marriages.[13] Many tie bullying, including cyberbullying to suicides of LGBTQ youth. Celebrity Lady Gaga has been an outspoken advocate on these issues, and has met U.S. President Barack Obama to urge that bullying of this nature be declared a hate crime.[14]

The Trevor Project[edit]

Founded in 1998 to address suicide among LGBT youth, The Trevor Project has enlisted a variety of celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Daniel Radcliffe,[15] Neil Patrick Harris,[16] James Marsden,[17] Chris Colfer,[18] Kim Kardashian,[19] Darren Criss,[20] Dianna Agron,[21] George Takei,[22] and Anderson Cooper.[23] They use NSPW to launch new initiatives and campaigns utilizing their celebrity supporters.[24] The project was founded by the Academy Award-winning filmmakers of Trevor, about a gay thirteen-year-old boy who attempts suicide when his friends reject him because of his sexuality.[25] The filmmakers realized that some of the program's viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and not finding a helpline for LGBTQ youth they created one.[25] The Trevor Lifeline is the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.[26]


Each year's NSPW observance has had a specific theme:

  • 2005: "Partnerships for Change: Advancing Suicide Prevention Services & Practice"[27]
  • 2006: "Science and Practice in Suicidology: Promoting Collaboration, Integration and Understanding"[28]
  • 2007: "Suicide Prevention across the Life Span"[29]
  • 2008: "Advancing Suicidology: Embracing Diversity in Research and Practice"[30]
  • 2009: "A Global Agenda on the Science of Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery"[31]
  • 2010: "Families, Community Systems and Suicide"[32]
  • 2011: "Changing the Legacy of Suicide"[6]
  • 2012: "Collaborations in Suicidology: Bridging the Disciplines"[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burkhart, Kate (September 11, 2009). "Are you searching for "National Suicide Prevention Week"? Highlight these search terms in the article My turn: Together communities can prevent suicide". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Suicide Prevention Week to be marked by Thurs. vigil". Marion Daily Republican. September 8, 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Woods, Tyler (September 7, 2009). "This Week Is National Suicide Prevention Week". Emax Health. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  4. ^ "The Main Stream [sic?]: Suicide Prevention Week events around town". KVOA - Tucson, AZ. September 5, 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2012.[dead link]
  5. ^ Murphy, Jay David (September 9, 2009). "Sen. Reid releases statement on his father's suicide 37 years ago". Digital Journal. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b "National Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit" (PDF). Campaign media kit. American Association of Suicidology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Suicide Soars". The Press-Courier. February 6, 1985. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  8. ^ "38th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week: Collaborations in Suicidology: Bridging the Disciplines September 9th - 15th, 2012". American Association of Suicidology. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  9. ^ "National Suicide Prevention Week". September 8, 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  10. ^ Zeitlin, Arnold (February 7, 1985). "Psychologist Warns of International Suicide Epidemic Among Young". Schenectady Gazette. p. 4. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  11. ^ a b Melin, Amy (September 11, 2008). "AFSP walkathon raises suicide awareness". Western Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  12. ^ Jelinek, Pauline (September 5, 2008). "Army: soldier suicide rate may set record again". USA Today/Associated Press. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  13. ^ National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Tackles LGBT Suicide, (April 26, 2012), Kellan Baker and Josh Garcia, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
  14. ^ Michaels, Sean (September 23, 2011). "Lady Gaga to meet with Obama over bullying: Singer plans to discuss anti-bullying legislation with president following fan's suicide". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  15. ^ Barnard, Linda (November 19, 2010). "Happy as Harry; A Grown-up Daniel Radcliffe Talks Bras, Girlfriends, Fame and New Opportunities as He Reflects on a Decade Playing the Boy Wizard". Toronto Star. p. E.1.
  16. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris' Message to Gay Youth," October 3, 2010 on YouTube
  17. ^ Estrada, Nora Alicia (December 7, 2010). "Dicen no al suicidio". Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. p. 2.
  18. ^ Moore, John (October 19, 2010). "Celebrities Flooding Internet with Anti-Gay Bullying Posts". Charleston Daily Mail. p. B.10.
  19. ^ "Kim Kardashian Donates $50,000 to The Trevor Project". January 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  20. ^ "Darren Criss performs "Not Alone" at Trevor Live," December 13, 2010 on YouTube
  21. ^ The Trevor Project: Dianna Agron Birthday Project Archived 2012-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "George Takei Calls Out Anti-Gay Arkansas School Board Member," November 1, 2010 on YouTube
  23. ^ "Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz to compete on 'Jeopardy' Power Players Week".
  24. ^ Marc Malkin; Brett Malec (September 1, 2011). "Glee Star Kevin McHale Talks to Troubled Gay Youths". E! Online. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  25. ^ a b "History of The Trevor Project". The Trevor Project. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  26. ^ Staff (October 13, 1998). "Trevor Lends a 24-Hour Ear to Youth". p. 14. Retrieved August 1, 2011. ...the nation's first toll-free 24-hour suicide prevention hot line for gay and questioning youth.
  27. ^ "Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit" (PDF). Media kit. American Association of Suicidology. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 25, 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  28. ^ "National Suicide Prevention Week Information Kit" (PDF). Media kit. American Association of Suicidology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  29. ^ "Massachusetts Psychiatric Society Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Week 2007". Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  30. ^ "National Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit" (PDF). Campaign media kit. American Association of Suicidology. Retrieved 14 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "National Suicide Prevention Week". Helping Others Prevent & Educate about Suicide. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  32. ^ "National Suicide Prevention Week in Florida: Several communities and organizations around the state and country are holding events this week to raise awareness and increase education on the issue". WCTV. September 7, 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  33. ^ "2012 National Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit" (PDF). American Association of Suicidology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.