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Staggering Statistics In Florida On World Suicide Prevention Day

The AFSP says more than four times as many people died by suicide in Florida in 2018 than in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.
The AFSP says more than four times as many people died by suicide in Florida in 2018 than in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.

One person dies by suicide every two hours in Florida on average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Florida overall.

This is World Suicide Prevention Day - a day to remember those lost to suicide and raise awareness of resources available to Floridians who may need support.

One person dies by suicide every two hours in Florida on average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Florida overall. It’s the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24, and second leading cause for people ages 25-34.

“These staggering statistics are extremely alarming and heart-breaking,” says Melanie Brown-Woofter, President and CEO of the Florida Behavioral Health Association. “While all of September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which allows us to shed light on treatment services and care available for those who have been impacted by suicide or are struggling with suicidal thoughts.”

A bill passed during the last legislative session and signed by the governor added duties for the Statewide Office for Suicide Prevention. It made changes to policies relating to mental health and substance abuse services, and the timing is critical.

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control found more than 4 in 10 Americans are struggling with mental health issues stemming from the pandemic.

“Often times, it is difficult for people who suffer from depression and anxiety to reach out for help. It is important, especially during times of social-distancing, that we communicate with our friends and make sure they are OK,” Brown-Woofter said.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought
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