September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Dear King County employee,

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and this year it comes at a particularly difficult time for many people in our community. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found that 1 in 4 people aged 18-24 has had suicidal thoughts in the month preceding the survey, which was conducted in June. Behind that statistic are people experiencing racism, worrying about their jobs, and feeling the pandemic’s threat to their health. It is clear, these unprecedented times are having profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages.

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with violence against Black minds and bodies, are placing a particular strain on people, causing predictions of a mental health crisis this fall, with increases in suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety.

We know that every year thousands of individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss, often called “suicide loss survivors,” feel shame and stigma preventing them from talking openly and seeking support.

Together we can play an important role in destigmatizing mental health by talking openly about it. We can help one another by checking in on one another. We all want to know that we are not alone and that we have many mental health resources available to help navigate challenging times.

Effective and compassionate resources are available for you, a loved one, or a colleague, 24 hours a day, and many people have found hope and support through them:

  • King County Mental Health Benefits and Resources Guide
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Making Life Easier: 1-888-874-7290, 24/7 support available for King County employees and their families. Call to speak with a Making Life Easier counselor and receive help in a crisis, as well as get you or anyone living in your home set up with eight free sessions of counseling.
  • Crisis Connections:  866-4CRISIS (427-4747), a 24-hour crisis line
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with trained crisis counselors about anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7 and confidential.
  • For immediate crises, call 911 right away.

This month, watch for Suicide Prevention and Awareness events throughout September, and please continue to look out for yourself and for one another this month, and every month. Together we can help break the silence and stigma, and spread the message that hope, help, and support are available.




Whitney Abrams
Chief People Officer