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SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH

Updated: Sep 28

Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.The good news is that suicide is preventable. Preventing suicide requires strategies at all levels of society. This includes prevention and protective strategies for individuals, families, and communities. Everyone can help prevent suicide by learning the warning signs, promoting prevention and resilience, and a committing to social change.


Many factors can increase the risk for suicide or protect against it. Suicide is connected to other forms of injury and violence. For example, people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence have a higher suicide risk. Being connected to family and community support and having easy access to health care can decrease suicidal thoughts and behaviors.2


Suicide affects all ages. In 2020, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.


Some groups have higher suicide rates than others. Suicide rates vary by race/ethnicity, age, and other factors, such as where someone lives. By race/ethnicity, the groups with the highest rates were non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic White populations. 3 Other Americans with higher than average rates of suicide are veterans, people who live in rural areas, and workers in certain industries and occupations like mining and construction. Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behavior compared to their peers who identify as heterosexual.


Need Help Now?


National Crisis Line

Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Call or text 988 to speak with a trained crisis counselor for free 24/7/365.


Local Supports

  • Mental Health Help Line 717-264-2916 available evenings 5pm to 10pm.

  • Keystone Health Crisis Intervention Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help with each individual crisis situation. No appointment is necessary at 866-918-2555.

  • Keystone Health Crisis Intervention Walk-in services are only available Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. At 112 N. Seventh Street, Chambersburg, PA (in an office next to the Chambersburg Hospital Emergency Department. (It is not necessary to check-in at the Emergency Department to visit the Crisis Intervention office during these hours).


Suicide Prevention Resources


Suicide Prevention Training (free)

  • Mental Health Association of Franklin/Fulton Counties – Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training is facilitated in person or online. Contact Alexandra Shatzer, Suicide Prevention Specialist at 717-264-4301, ext. 227 or Alexandra Shatzer or AShatzer@mhaff.org for more information.

  • WellSpan Health PhilhavenQuestion, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training is facilitated in person or virtually. Contact Jayne Miller, Community Mental Health Educator Coordinator at 717-273-8871, ext. 2248 or jmiller80@wellspan.org for more information.


Local Activities


  • Tuesday, Sept. 13th at 12 pm OR Thursday, Sept. 22nd at 6 pm Book Discussion: "Saving Ourselves from Suicide" - VIRTUAL (free) Join WellSpan Health for a virtual book discussion entitled, “Saving Ourselves from Suicide: Before and After” by Linda Pacha. The book discussion will focus on a caring up-close look at suicide, the assistance that could have helped save the author’s son, and the guidance the family needed to address grief and resolve guilt. Books are available at local libraries. Register at wellspan.org/events. For more information call (717) 262-4602.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 20th at 6pm OR Thursday, Sept. 29th at 7pm Virtual Breathing Technique Workshops (free) Learn more about intentional breathing and practice several breathing techniques to bring a sense of calm and peace. Register at wellspan.org/events. For more information call (717) 262-4602.

  • Purple Ribbons and Lights Purple lights and ribbons will be installed in town centers throughout the month of September to demonstrate unity in the effort to prevent death by suicide. The purple light installations are also part of an awareness campaign for National Recovery Month, which is during September. To learn more about local activities to celebrate and recognize those in recovery, click here.



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