*This course has been retired. Please click here for new course, About Suicide: Washington State, 6 units.
Suicide and suicide attempts are serious public health problems and issues of societal concern. Rates of suicide have been on the rise for more than a decade and the costs stretch well into the billions of dollars each year. While suicide is a rare outcome statistically, it has a far-reaching effect. Each of us likely interacts with suicide survivors and with those who think of suicide on a daily basis—at home, at work, and in our communities.
A number of barriers that have our impeded progress in reducing suicide in the United States, including stigma, mental illness, being a survivor, and fear of discussing suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, like many public health problems, suicide is preventable and more is being done to prevent suicide than ever before, as evidenced by the work of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the release of the first world report on suicide, and more timely surveillance data (Stone et al., 2017).