Wednesday, September 1, 2021

CMO Message - Suicide Prevention

The immense suffering that ultimately leads someone to consider, attempt, or commit suicide is devastating yet highly preventable.

However, suicide is a tragedy that’s unfortunately becoming more common. Even before the pandemic, suicide rates in the US increased by 33% over the last 20 years, making it the 10th leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death for people 10-34 years old.

Just a few months into the pandemic last year, 11% of adults reported that they seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days. This number is staggering enough but the prevalence of suicidal thoughts among high risk groups is even more alarming. Nearly 1 out of 5 Hispanics, one-third of unpaid caregivers for adults, and 22% of essential workers were considering suicide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for increasing suicide risk. Trauma from getting COVID-19 or losing a loved one to the pandemic, financial stressors, social isolation, and worsening underlying mental health conditions including substance abuse can all precipitate suicidal thoughts. If you or your loved one has been experiencing warning signs of suicide risk such as feelings of hopelessness or wanting to die, severe mood swings including rage or agitation, or worsening substance abuse; please seek help immediately.

Given the high risk of suicide in our communities at this time, most of us know someone who might be suffering from suicidal thoughts and all of us can help prevent suicide. If you or someone you care about might be at risk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or use their online chat feature. They are available 24/7 and provide confidential support. You can also connect 24/7 to a trained counselor through the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Although we have more scientific knowledge about COVID-19 and greater public health measures to control the pandemic now than we did last year, that doesn’t mean that the heightened risk of suicide goes away. In fact, historically after epidemics or natural disasters, suicide rates decrease initially but increase later on. We at UnitedAg are here to help you get the care you need early on so that you can be healthy physically and emotionally.


  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA