September National Suicide Prevention, Awareness Month

The stigma associated with asking for help and a lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment can also pose as risk factors to an individual”

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

The Senior Solutions program at Union County Hospital in Anna is working to raise awareness and to educate the community about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. 

As part of the awareness effort, Mayor Steve Hartline was presented with and signed a proclamation designating September 2020 as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month in Anna.   

“We are thankful to Mayor Hartline for recognizing September as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month,” Senior Solutions program director Karen Lawless said in a news release. “The staff at Senior Solutions appreciates the support.

The proclamation signed by the mayor declares that:

“...mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being...”

“...all Americans experience times of difficulty and stress in their lives...”

“ of suicide should never be dismissed. If you, or someone you know are thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255...”

“...mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation...”

“...with effective treatment, those individuals with mental health and other chronic health conditions can recover and lead full, productive lives...”

“...each business, school, government agency, healthcare provider, organization and citizen shares the burden of mental health problems and has a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support suicide prevention efforts...”

The mayor called upon “the citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools in Anna to recommit our community to increasing awareness and understanding of suicide, the steps our citizens can take to protect their mental health, and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health conditions.”

Senior Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy and teletherapy program.

The program is designed to meet the unique needs of senior adults living with symptoms of age-related depression or anxiety, dealing with difficult life transitions, a recent health diagnosis or the loss of a loved one.  

“It is important to reach people early,” program director Lawless said. “We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but by educating our community we hope we can show people that it is okay to reach out and ask for help for themselves or a loved one.”

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline points out that risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt or die by suicide and they are important to be aware of.

Several risk factors may include:

A preexisting mental disorder. Alcohol or substance use disorder. Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies.

Major physical illness. Job or financial loss. Loss of relationship(s). Access to lethal means. Lack of social support and sense of isolation.

“The stigma associated with asking for help and a lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment can also pose as risk factors to an individual,” Lawless said.

“We work to lessen the stigma and increase access to behavioral healthcare.”

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline also states that knowing these warning signs may help determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide:

Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves. Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun.

Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

Talking about being a burden to others. Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. 

Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly. Sleeping too little or too much.

Withdrawing or isolating themselves. Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge. Extreme mood swings.

For more information, or if an older loved one is in need of help, call Union County Hospital’s Senior Solutions program at 833-4505.

Union County Hospital’s Senior Solutions program is managed in partnership by Psychiatric Medical Care, PMC, which is a behavioral healthcare management company.  

Focused on addressing the needs of rural and underserved communities, PMC manages inpatient behavioral health units, intensive outpatient programs, and telehealth services in more than 25 states. 

The company’s services provide evaluation and treatment for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, memory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and other behavioral health problems.  

Information is available online by visiting   


The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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