Governors Recognize Suicide Prevention Month  

Suicide is a leading cause of death and claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 individuals in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2000 and 2020, suicide rates increased by 30% across all sexes, races, and ethnicities; although rates rose fastest for females and American Indian and Alaskan Natives . Other populations at greater risk of suicide include LGBTQ youth, who are four times more likely to commit suicide as compared to their peers, and veterans, whose suicide rate is 57.3% higher than non-veterans.

Suicide can impact anyone, but there are factors that increase suicide risk at the individual, relationship, community, and societal level. These risk factors include a history of mental illnesses, a history of childhood trauma, social isolation, community violence, and access to lethal means of suicide. Although some individuals are at greater risk, suicide is preventable and several factors can protect an individual, including building effective coping and problem-solving skills; feeling connected to school, community, and other institutions; feeling connected to others; and reduced access to lethal means of suicide.

To raise awareness of suicide and to identify ways to prevent it, September was designated as Suicide Prevention Month. Governors support suicide prevention through several mechanisms, including convening interagency working groups to develop a coordinated suicide prevention strategy, investing in awareness and evidence-based prevention initiatives, and promoting resources like the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, 988.

Governors across the country are commemorating Suicide Prevention Month through a variety of actions, including: 

  • Michigan– Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation acknowledging September 10-16 as Suicide Prevention Week. During this week, a local organization, With One Voice, is organizing the Michigan Suicide Prevention Training Week, which aims to train thousands of Michiganders in evidence-based suicide prevention skills.
  • New Hampshire– Governor Chris Sununu issued a proclamation recognizing New Hampshire’s Suicide Prevention Week. In addition, he held an event with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) New Hampshire, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others to discuss the state’s Rapid Response Access Point, which includes crisis response services for individuals experiencing a substance use or mental health crisis.
  • New Mexico– Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a proclamation recognizing that mental health is a component of physical health and overall well-being. The proclamation also highlighted the goals of the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition, which include promoting public awareness of the warning signs of suicide, help-seeking behaviors, resources, and services for people at increased risk of suicide.
  • Vermont– Governor Phil Scott held an event with mental health professionals where he encouraged individuals to check in on themselves and others. The event also promoted statewide mental health resources, including the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number 988, as well as the Facing Suicide VT—a prevention initiative funded by the CDC and led by the Vermont Department of Health and Department of Mental Health. The Facing Suicide VT initiative aims to leverage existing partnerships and programs, bolster collective efforts on the integration between physical and mental health care, and provide targeted resources for people at higher risk of suicide.

To learn more about Suicide Prevention Month and other suicide prevention initiatives, please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline websites. For more information on how Governors can support suicide prevention, please reach out to Marianne Gibson (