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Awareness of Suicide Risk Important for All

October 11, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
AMES, Iowa — Suicide has been prominently in the news with the recent deaths of well-known celebrities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States. The effects of suicide are often felt beyond the person who acted to take his or her life. It can have a lasting impact on family, friends, schools, churches, work sites and communities, says Malisa Rader, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. In Iowa, the suicide rate has increased over 36 percent since 1999 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Iowa is also well known for a high risk industry – farming, Rader said. “According to a 2012 CDC study, those working in the farming, fishing and forestry industries had the highest rate of suicide overall (84.5 per 100,000 population). This suicide rate was even higher than for military veterans. Farmers even have the highest mortality rate from stress related illnesses. Be attentive to warning signs It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, Rader said. According to, such signs could include:   •Threatening to hurt or kill oneself. •Seeking access to means to hurt or kill oneself. •Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide. •Feeling hopeless. •Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities. •Increased use of alcohol or drugs. •Withdrawing from family, friends, or society. •Appearing agitated or angry. •Having a dramatic change in mood. Iowans can call the ISU Extension and Outreach Iowa Concern Hotline, 800-447-1985, for help and referrals for dealing with stress. The Iowa Concern website at has a live chat feature as an additional way to talk with stress counselors. Agencies and professionals serving individuals and families can contact local ISU Extension and Outreach county offices about Iowa Concern hotline number business cards available for distribution. Call ISU Extension and Outreach, Tama County for more information 641.484.2703.


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