The Keenan Blog

Timely and informative posts written by our experts.


Recognizing the Reality of the U.S. Suicide Crisis

September 22, 2021 by Kathy Espinoza

We have lived in unique times during the last two years in this country, with many of us facing uncertainty, loss and isolation. Mental health issues have become personal like never before. More and more of us are confronting individual crises and seeking answers out of the chaos. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to advocate, support and come together to talk about constructive solutions that are alternatives to suicide for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has prepared an infographic to share vital information to our communities about the risks and how to respond if you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts. You are not alone – there is help and there is hope.


We may be uncomfortable about the subject of suicide, but the reality cannot be ignored. During the past two decades, the rate of suicide has increased 35% to become the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34. Individuals with existing mental illnesses are at increased risk. Non-Hispanic white and Native American populations, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are at even more elevated risk levels. But the most important reason to discuss these realities is that talking about suicide and its prevention saves lives.

A person having a suicidal crisis may not be able to see any other answer. But if that person can be engaged by a caring, calm individual, talking can begin the discussion of reasons to live and lead to treatment that can improve their quality of life.

Helpless and hopeless feelings seem overwhelming, but they don’t last forever. Suicide is NOT the answer. Others have been in the same place and have emerged again, strong and resilient. There are others – concerned friends, loving family and dedicated professionals – who want to support and assist.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

About Kathy Espinoza
Kathy Espinoza, Assistant Vice President of Ergonomics & Safety, is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist with a Master of Business Administration and a master’s degree in Work Science/Physiology. She has been with AP Keenan since 2003 providing injury prevention training to office personnel, hospital workers (clinical and non-clinical settings,) Special Education staff and custodial, grounds, and EVS employees.