The statistics on suicide are staggering. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates that every day, 121 people die by suicide in the U.S. and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists suicide as the tenth leading cause of death nationally. Suicide is also the third leading cause of death among 10-14 year-olds, and second among 15-34 year-olds. The NIMH also reports that there are twice as many suicides as there are homicides in the U.S., and suicide rates have been on the rise over the past 15 years, increasing by 24 percent.
These numbers emphasize the tragedy and devastation of this epidemic - this national crisis. Yet suicide is still regarded as a taboo topic - one that is discussed in hushed tones, if even discussed at all; perhaps because the human race is programmed to survive and suicide challenges that. People are still afraid to use that word, “suicide,” often gravitating towards other terms or euphemisms to describe the death of a loved one. With the World Health Organization approximating that 300 million people across the globe are affected by some form of depression, and almost 800,000 people die from suicide each year globally, we have to find a way to talk about this.
North is a way to work together to initiate and participate in a national dialogue about suicide, and behavioral health issues in general, so that we can address this crisis as a nation. We cannot solve a problem we’re unwilling to talk about. We need to have this conversation for those of us living with behavioral health issues, their loved ones, and our communities. There needs to be a space where we broach these topics, share these experiences and trust that we’re somewhere safe and respectful.
North is a new independent publication supported by Voi, a behavioral health technology company deeply concerned not only with awareness, but also suicide prevention. North is the other side of the coin to the business, the yin to the yang. It recognizes that for all the incredible technology advancements created to help curb the suicide rate, society needs a place to feel, to be heard, to listen and to breathe. This publication is a safe space to share the stories, experiences, and facts about suicide and behavioral health issues respectfully and honestly, illuminating something that too often either leaves people in the dark or reduces the issue to a headline.
And so, we are launching North, aspiring to be the go-to publication for learning and sharing about suicide awareness, and prevention. The name North references “true north,” a guiding force in navigation. North is designed to help guide this important conversation on suicide and related behavioral health topics, to navigate the nuances of this conversation together and invite others to share in the conversation. We want to discuss the struggles, the challenges and, hopefully, more and more of the triumphs of the warriors battling behavioral health issues.
Like you and many others, we are continuing to learn, striving to understand how we can better prevent suicide and help those who are struggling. We want you to email us and engage with us online (Twitter, Facebook) to provide your feedback, join the conversation, inform us when we’re wrong, and tell us when we’re doing something right. We want to do justice to these topics and we hope that you’ll join us on this journey North.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. All call centers are open 24/7 and calls are confidential. Visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information.