This week, Sept. 6-12, is Suicide Prevention Week in Michigan. It provides an opportunity to recognize the organizations at all levels that work to halt the growth of suicide rates and remind those in need of resources available to them.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in both Michigan and the nation, and a top five leading cause among individuals who are 10-54 years old. Unfortunately, Michigan has higher rates of suicide among people who are 10-19 and 25-44 years of age compared to the nation as a whole.

Mental health professionals say that some residents are experiencing increased levels of emotional distress due to the pandemic and its effects on their families, careers and finances. We’ve seen it happen before. During the Great Recession, suicide numbers increased and local officials stepped up their efforts to prevent such tragedies.

All of us, whether or not we have a medical or mental health background, can do our part too by knowing the warning signs of suicide, encouraging those at risk to seek help, and having open and honest conversations with our friends and loved ones.

Warning signs for those at risk include feelings of hopelessness; is threatening to or talking about wanting to hurt themself; a loss of interest in activities; has withdrawn from friends and family or experiences a change in eating and sleeping habits.

If you are in a crisis, or know someone who needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit for more information.

Additional emotional-support services for those who are feeling emotional distress during the COVID-19 pandemic are available at or by calling Michigan Stay Well Counseling via the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” to talk to a counselor 24/7.