TThis month, Governor Doug Ducey issued a proclamation to declare September National Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The proclamation states some sobering statistics. Arizona ranks 18th in the nation for suicides among children and adolescents. Numbers show suicide was the second leading cause of death for Arizona teens ages 15-18.

Suicide prevention is an important topic, especially one worth discussion. There is a perceived stigma around suicide we can work to change as a community. Our team in the Division of Behavioral Health Services works with partners across our state to help people in need so we can prevent suicide.

Through one of our community partnership meetings, our team met a mental health advocate and a survivor of suicide. His son died by suicide in 2013, and in his advocacy work shares his story and reasons for working to prevent suicides in Arizona. He became involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and volunteers on a mental health leadership team at his church.

It is important suicide prevention efforts reduce stigma and let people know it is okay to ask for help. View our ADHS 2015 state plan to end suicide to learn how our community partners will work with us to develop educational and training programs to reduce suicide in our state.