Governor Doug Ducey proclaimed September 2022 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
- Arizona ranks 20th in the nation for deaths by suicide,
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Arizona,
- 1,359 Arizonans died by suicide in 2020,
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Arizonans ages 10-34
- On average, one person in Arizona dies by suicide every six and a half hours.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
For more information and resources visit azhealth.gov/suicide
LGBTQ+ suicide rates are unknown because sexual and gender identity are not reported on death records1. Given this gap in data, much of what is known about LGBTQ+ people and suicidal behavior results from self-reported experiences. Many studies report an elevated risk of suicidality among LGBTQ+ individuals regardless of age; however, the risk of suicidal behaviors is highest among teens and young adults 1,2,3. The elevation of suicidal behavior is in part due to bias, discrimination, isolation, and other pressures associated with minority stress4.
Supporting our LGBTQ+ peers can include, but is not limited to:
- Advocating for anti-discriminatory policies and laws
- Fighting stigma
- Providing safe and supportive environments
- Improving data collection
- Increasing awareness and social acceptance
Learn more here:
- Suicide Risk and Prevention for LGBTQ People
- Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations
- National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2020
- Public Policy Priorities
Find LGBTQ+ Resources here:
- Arizona Specific Resources
- The Trevor Project
- 24-hour, toll-free, crisis intervention phone line: 1.866.488.7386
- Online, a social networking community for LGBTQ youth (13 to 24 years) and allies
- Educational programs for schools
- Peer Listening Line
- Anonymous and confidential helpline for accessing support from other LGBTQ youth (not specific to suicide): 800.399.PEER
- Offers LGBTQ young people a safe place to call for information, referrals, and support with coming out, locating LGBTQ groups and services, safer sex and relationships, and HIV/AIDS.
- LGBT Helpline
- Anonymous and confidential helpline for accessing support from other LGBTQ people (not specific to suicide): 888.340.4528
- Offers information, referrals, and support with coming out, locating LGBTQ groups and services, safer sex and relationships, and HIV/AIDS.
- Family Acceptance Project
- A research, intervention, education, and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBTQ children and youth in the context of their families, cultures, and faith communities.
- Provides training and consultation on an evidence-based family model of wellness and prevention and care to strengthen families and promote positive development.
- Haas, A. P., Eliason, M., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D'Augelli, A. R., Silverman, M. M., Fisher, P. W., Hughes, T., Rosario, M., Russell, S. T., Malley, E., Reed, J., Litts, D. A., Haller, E., Sell, R. L., Remafedi, G., Bradford, J., Beautrais, A. L., Brown, G. K., … Clayton, P. J. (2011). Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: review and recommendations. Journal of homosexuality, 58(1), 10–51. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2011.534038
- Mathy, R. M. (2002). Suicidality and sexual orientation in five continents: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. International Journal of Sexuality & Gender Studies, 7(2-3), 215–225. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015853302054
- Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., & Muraco, A. (2010). Aging and Sexual Orientation: A 25-Year Review of the Literature. Research on aging, 32(3), 372–413. https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027509360355
- Haas, A., & Lane, A. (2017). Suicide & LGBT Populations (Rep.). Retrieved https://www.datocms-assets.com/12810/1576937561-talking-about-suicide-and-lgbt-populations-2nd-edition.pdf
The majority of those who die by suicide in Arizona are age 65 and older. While there is no one cause of suicide, hopelessness and isolation are often factors. The Area Agency on Aging has an Eldervention Program, including a 24-hour senior help line – 602-264-4357.
For more information: Eldervention Program
What you can do:
- Depression is not a normal symptom of aging. If someone in your life is experiencing depression or increased substance use, have a courageous conversation and ask if he/she is considering suicide. Learn the warning signs and how to refer a person to care: How we can all prevent suicide
- Check on your neighbors. If you haven’t seen an older neighbor or friend lately, stop by and see how he/she is.
- Volunteer with seniors in your community. Connectedness and friendship are protective factors against suicide.
Suicide rates are higher for all individuals who served in the military. A US Department of Veteran Affairs report in 2016 found the suicide rate among those who served in the military was significantly higher than the national rate, with the most deaths among those aged 55-74.
Be Connected is a collaborative effort among multiple partners, including AHCCCS and the Arizona Department of Veteran Services, to connect Arizona service members, veterans, families and helpers to information, support, and resources, including a 24-hour help line: 1-866-4AZ-VETS. For more information visit Be Connected.
What you can do:
- Recognize those in your life who served in the military are at higher risk for suicide. Learn the warning signs and how to refer a person to care: How we can all prevent suicide
- A protective factor for suicide prevention is family and community support. Reach out to those in your life who served in the military.
- Volunteer with a veteran service organization. A directory can be found here: ADVS Veterans Service Organization VSO Directory
Recognizing depression in teenagers can be difficult. Abnormal sleep patterns and changes in mood are common in teens, but both can be warning signs for suicidal thoughts. Depression in teenagers varies from adult depression. Teenage symptoms that are more common include:
- Irritable moods
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Extreme sensitivity to criticism
- Withdrawing from some aspects of social life
Teen Lifeline is an Arizona-based nonprofit that provides a safe, confidential crisis service where teens help other teens to make health decisions: 800-248-8336. Teen Lifeline has resources for teens, parents, and educators on what to do if a teen is thinking about suicide: My teen needs help
LGBTQ teens can speak with a peer through The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386. The national organizations provides crisis intervention and suicide preventions services to LGBTQ youth younger than 25. Chat and text features are also available.
AHCCCS has partnered with the Arizona Department of Education on a five-year Project AWARE grant. This project works with school districts and educators to promote mental health and suicide prevention trainings. More information about the project can be found on the Arizona Department of Education Project Aware web page.
What you can do:
- Learn the warning signs for suicide among teens and how to refer a person to care: How we can all prevent suicide Volunteer for a community-based organizations working with youth. A strong relationship with an adult can be a protective factor against suicide. Ask your school to participate in the free Teen LifeLine school ID initiative: Arizona School ID Initiative
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have the highest rates of suicide of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. The rates of suicide in this population have been increasing since 2003.i The National Indian Council on Aging reports for AI/AN youth ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death; and the AI/AN youth suicide rate is 2.5 times higher than the overall national average.ii
Arizona is home to 22 diverse tribal nations, and a significant urban American Indian population. We strive to walk alongside tribal partners in their suicide prevention activities.
AHCCCS staff has compiled a list of suicide prevention programs.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has a comprehensive approach to preventing suicides among American Indians. This includes:
- Promoting culturally competent practices.
- Connecting a community or tribe’s resources to a shared vision of wellness.
- Gathering information from Elders and community members to understand suicide among the community.
What you can do:
- Know the cultural risk factors for suicide among AI/AN, a how to refer a person to care: How we can all prevent suicide
- Consider making a safety plan for if/when you feel depressed or suicidal. A protective factor for suicide includes having a strong support network. Knowing who to call when you feel depressed or suicidal can help in crisis.
- Practice active listening; listening to someone who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts, without offering advice or judgment, is courageous.
- Advocate for the importance of suicide surveillance systems, including building relationships with respected community members.
- Speak with tribal councils, school boards, and other community leaders about the need for suicide prevention resources.
Resources by County
Other Tools and Resources:
The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. Zero Suicide presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care. For more information see the Zero Suicide one pager.
Postvention is an intervention that happens after a suicide to provide support for the bereaved. Family and friends of the individual who died by suicide may be at increased risk for suicide as a result. Postvention has been shown to be a successful model of helping provide immediate help and services to those mourning.
For more information: SPRC Comprehensive Approach Postvention
- Annual State Action Plan
- 50 State Suicide Prevention Program Review Report
- The 2021-2025 Arizona Health Improvement Plan