This year, in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, consider supporting suicide prevention nonprofits currently working to combat suicide at all levels. Although the global suicide rate has declined nearly 10 percent since 2010, one person still dies from suicide every 40 seconds worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that, in the United States alone, more than 47,000 people died by suicide in 2017. But while suicide remains a serious public health issue, it is preventable and there are a number of organizations working to provide invaluable resources for those in crisis while also combating the stigma around mental health through education and advocacy.
Unfortunately, the truth is that no one is immune to suicidal thoughts. A 2013 study, for example, found that suicide accounted for roughly 20 percent of postpartum deaths, making it the second leading cause of death in postpartum women. Suicide has also been reported to be a leading cause of death among children, according to the CDC. In fact, it's because suicide doesn't discriminate that makes the work being done by suicide prevention nonprofits so important.
Here are seven suicide prevention nonprofits and organizations worth supporting this World Suicide Prevention Day and every day of the year:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Long known as a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for anyone in immediate need of crisis prevention or who is looking for resources for a loved one. The organization operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a network of more than 150 local crisis centers spread around the country. You can reach the lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also administers You Matter, a safe online space where teens and youth can discuss and share stories about mental health and wellness. Kids can search by topic, like depression, suicide, or eating disorders, to learn about possible warning signs and resources available to them for help.
As all local call centers are staffed by trained volunteers, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline relies on its dedicated volunteers. The organization can help connect you to your local crisis call center through online resources available here. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also encourages those eager to support, to donate to their local call center. Donations can also be made directly to the Lifeline program, which oversees the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well as other programs.
Crisis Text Line
Similar to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Crisis Text Line serves to connect people in need with real-life crisis counselors at no charge — except you're texting instead of calling. While the nonprofit also serves people in Canada and the United Kingdom (albeit via a different number), those in the United States can text 741741 when in a crisis and receive a quick response from a counselor trained to listen, understand both the issue at hand as well as the texter's goal, collaboratively problem solve, and establish a plan to help the texter stay safe.
You can support the organization by becoming a volunteer crisis counselor or making a monetary donation. According to its website, a one-time donation of $19 supports one texter in their time of crisis. The Crisis Text Line also has easy step-by-step directions on how to launch a fundraiser benefiting the nonprofit through crowdsourcing platforms like GoFundMe for those looking to rally their friends and family to the cause.
First founded in 2011 under the name the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, 2020 Mom was renamed after it grew into a national organization aimed at closing the gap in maternal mental health care through education, advocacy, and collaboration. According to 2020 Mom, suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. The nonprofit is working to change policy and maternal care systems via nationwide partnerships, advocacy, and training to help mothers get vital access to mental health care specific to their postpartum needs as new moms.
You can help 2020 Mom close the gap in maternal mental health care by joining their its of supporters, which helps the organization determine where to prioritize policy change and legislative initiatives. You can also donate directly to the organization or become more involved by becoming a 2020 Mom ambassador.
Although unaffiliated with 2020 Mom, it's worth noting that parents — moms or dads — experiencing postpartum baby blues, depression, or anxiety can also call or text the Postpartum Support International Helpline at 1-800-944-4773 (phone) and 503-894-9453 (text).
American Foundation For Suicide Prevention
For more than 30 years, the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention has sought to save lives through a number of core strategies. The organization works to support survivors of suicide loss, raise awareness and educate the public about suicide prevention, fund scientific research into suicide and mental health, and advocate for public policies that support mental health and suicide prevention. Ultimately, the organization's goal is to establish a culture "that's smart about mental health."
Through its website, the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention offers a variety of resources for those who are currently dealing with suicidal thoughts, those who have survived an attempted suicide, those who have lost someone to suicide, and those who know someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the American Foundation For Suicide or find other ways to give — such as shopping at Amazon Smile with the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention as your chosen beneficiary — on its website.
National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide & The American Association of Suicidology
Launched by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide is largely driven by AAS' Youth Suicide Prevention Committee through partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club of America, GoGuardian, Jasmer's Game Day, and the notOK app. According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. children ages 10 to 24, making its prevention in children especially important.
The National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide seeks to reduce the rate of youth suicide attempts and death through education about warning signs and best suicide prevention practices for youth caregivers, as well as direct outreach to at-risk youth groups. You can support this organization's efforts by making a monetary donation here.
Founded in 2001 as a student group by a University of Pennsylvania freshman who lost her only sibling to suicide, Active Minds has since grown to include chapters at colleges across the country as well as a national office in Washington, D.C. Operating now as a nonprofit, Active Minds is now a leader in young adult mental health advocacy and suicide prevention. With a specific focus on those age 14 to 25, Active Minds seeks to change how mental health is discussed and treated through education, research, and advocacy.
The Trevor Project has been a leading national suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 since it was founded in 1998. The organization seeks to end suicide among LGBTQ youth providing crisis counseling and other supportive resources for those in need. They also work to educate others on "LGBTQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection and response" and advocate for laws and policies geared at suicide prevention. The Trevor Project currently operates the nation's only crisis and suicide prevention phone, chat, and text hotlines for LGBTQ youth. Calls can be made at any time, day or night, to 1-866-488-7386 while texting can be initiated by texting START to 678678. The chat hotline is available online here.
The organizations listed here are, of course, only some of the many vital national groups working toward preventing suicide and creating a supportive culture around mental health. This list is by no means meant to be an exhaustive collection of every suicide prevention organization worth your time and support. But consider it a jumping-off place, a source to help you begin your own work toward combating suicide.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.