Suicide is a significant public health problem that impacts hundreds of Alabama families each year. In a recent publication, (Coombs & Harrington, 2008) the incidence of suicide in Alabama was reported with analysis from the Center for Health Statistics. The overall suicide rate in Alabama for 2006 is 12.5 per 100,000, the highest rate since 2000 (Hodges, 2007). The most recent available rate for the United States as a whole is the 2004 rate of 11.1 (Hodges, 2007). Suicide rates for white males 15-19 have more than doubled in one year (2005-9.3; 2006-23.1) and rates for white males 20-24 have also risen significantly (2005-22.0; 2006-29.9). Although the suicide rates for black and other males have dropped in these age groups, they are still much higher than the latest published rates for the United States (US, 2004-12.2; AL, 2006-15.9), as are those of white males (US,2004-17.9; AL, 2006-26.5) (Hodges, 2007, personal communication.). Moreover, the total male suicide rate for Alabama of 21.4 (2006) exceeds the total male suicide rate for the US of 17.7. In Alabama, the rate of suicide by firearms, 69.8%, significantly exceeds the US rate of 52%. This is true of both men (71.9%) and women (57.3%) (Hodges, 2007).
Suicide is not restricted to one age group, cultural group, or to a socio-economic status. Suicide can become a tragedy for everyone in any demographic category. With such alarming rates of suicide in our state, the Alabama Suicide Prevention Task Force formed in 2001. Read about the history of the Alabama Suicide Prevention Task Force.
This website is offered as a service of the Task Force among its other initiatives. The ASPTF, as it is referred to, is a collaborative group of persons and organizations interested in suicide prevention who represent the public sector, private sector, community agencies, education experts and universities, hospitals, child protection advocates, professional associations, and citizens. We have been active in promoting initiatives such as a Speakerís Bureau, grant funding for programs, gatekeeper training and public education about suicide, resources for the bereft, a resource directory, legislative efforts, and more.
This website can link you to important available statistics about suicide, warning signs and risk factors, other websites of national help centers, resources for those grieving a loss to suicide, and more. Please contact our central office for more personal assistance, and consider volunteering on the Alabama Suicide Prevention Task Force or at a crisis center near you.
Call the National Crisis Hotline
If you are worried about someone, or if you yourself are feeling vulnerable or despondent, call the 1-800-273-TALK (8255) phone number or one of the crisis centers near you, check out the related links presented on this website, and most importantly, seek help from a mental health professional. Professionals include counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists (physicians) in private practices, at your Employee Assistance office, or community agencies. Also consider the church-affiliated counseling centers, pastoral care centers, United Way agencies, and your primary care physician and/or emergency room. If you are struggling to find the right professional, please tell a trusted family member or friend about your feelings, and ask that they help you to find help quickly. Do not stop asking for help until someone takes you seriously.
Please know that feeling suicidal can result from a variety of risk factors and personal conditions that combine to make a person feel hopeless and feel that help is not available. These factors may include but are not limited to a history of depression or bipolar disease or other mental diagnoses, a serious loss or a number of losses or defeats, isolation, alcohol use, and having access to the means for dying. Help is available and you do not have to suffer with your emotional or psychological pain alone. Many people can feel so despondent and hopeless that they believe that suicide will end the pain. Yes, suicide is a permanent solution to what often are temporary problems. Please ask for help now.