Suicide prevention: The unsuspecting demographic that’s at-risk

September is suicide prevention month

September is suicide prevention month and the issue has never been more forefront than now.

In Houston, teens and young adults die by suicide at the highest rates compared to other age groups, according to the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD.

At the same time, one adult age group is growing as an at-risk group.

James Flowers from the J. Flowers Health Institute said the highest number of suicides in adults is among white males between the ages of 40-51.

Recently, there have been famous examples fitting this demographic: Bed Bath and Beyond CFO, Gustavo Arnal last week, Former Houston Texans President, Jamey Rootes last month, and Texas Roadhouse Founder, Kent Taylor in March.

In April, Naomi Judd’s family also said she died by suicide.

Flowers said successful people can have high-functioning depression, which may be less obvious since they may not miss functions or miss deadlines. Flowers said in a post-COVID world, we should have a low threshold for seeking mental health help.

“We need to look for just the slightest symptoms of depression or anxiety or avoidance or withdrawing from social activities or work activities and understand that sometimes we can be high functioning and also be suicidal,” Flowers said.

Encouragement to get help in recent years has also created a lack of access to a provider because there simply aren’t enough anymore. It may take time to get an appointment.

Flowers said now is the time to pool together and sincerely talk to friends, family, and colleagues. Peer-to-peer conversations can help.

“Just asking how’s your day going, and when you get a response that is not quite normal, or typical of their former responses, ask a little bit more, ‘Is there something I can do to help out today?’” Flowers said. “Just feel free to be able to talk to your friends, coworkers, family and ask for help... talk, talk, talk!”

If you need help now, call the crisis line at 9-8-8. If you prefer to text, text home to 741-741.

The most common issues people text for help:

  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Relationships

Fastest growing issue people text for help:

  • Loneliness
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief
  • Suicide

Is exercise enough?

Right now, there’s a big effort to increase wellness with yoga, meditation and exercise. This can have a tremendous benefit on your mental health. However, Flowers said it’s just one aspect of your wellness. If you’re depressed or suicidal, you might need more than just exercise to really heal your situation.