Prevent Suicide PA is the leading non-profit organization in Pennsylvania focused on developing and disseminating suicide prevention trainings, increasing awareness about suicide, improving collaborations around suicide prevention, and reducing the stigma associated with suicide loss. We believe that one suicide is too many and are committed to serving communities across the Commonwealth to reduce the number of lives lost to suicide.
Pennsylvania and Suicide
In 2017, suicide accounted for 2,030 deaths in Pennsylvania. This is an increase of 23% from 5 years prior (2013). Across the country over the same time span, the suicide death rate increased by 10.8%. Pennsylvania continues to have more individuals die by suicide than the national average, and current statistics suggest that this problem in the Commonwealth is increasing at an alarming rate.
Too often, preventing suicide is perceived to rest in the hands of those in the mental health field. As a society, we believe that these individuals are the most appropriately trained to work with those who may be suicidal. Yet, research suggests that only about 25% of individuals who die by suicide were involved in treatment at the time of their death. Clearly, suicide prevention is so much more. At Prevent Suicide PA, we believe that prevention includes educating natural gatekeepers and members of the community on how to identify those who may be at risk for suicide and teach them effective ways to be responsive and guide them to appropriate services. Prevention includes raising public awareness, so that conversations about suicide are in the open and individuals no longer feel they must suffer in their own silence. Prevention is working with local and state government to develop legislation that would improve our ability for members in the public and private sectors to educate themselves, develop effective and impactful interventions to engage those with thoughts of suicide, and increase access points to service delivery. Prevention is working with individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend, because research clearly shows that appropriate management around suicide deaths can decrease the likelihood that suicides will occur in those affected by the loss. Prevention is all of these things and so much more.