Infographic from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year over 41,000 people in America kill themselves—a rate that has increased 30% since 1999. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but 54% of those who commit suicide do not have a known mental illness. Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor, and are also affected by personal relationships, substance use, physical health, and stress from jobs, money, legal issues, and/or housing. In addition to September being Suicide Prevention Month, the week surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day is National Suicide Prevention Week. Awareness is important to end the stigma of suicidal feelings and help more people access life-saving help in dark times.   Anyone can have suicidal thoughts, but

it is important to know they are not permanent. Having suicidal thoughts is not a sign of weakness or failure, but is a symptom of profound distress. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be very damaging and dangerous, and should be considered a psychiatric emergency. Other than mental illness, there are a number of risk factors for suicide:   A family history of suicide Substance abuse—using drugs and alcohol results in mental/emotional highs and lows that can exacerbate suicidal thoughts Intoxication—more than a third of people who die from suicide are under the influence at the time Access to firearms A serious or chronic medical illness A history of trauma or abuse Prolonged stress Isolation A recent tragedy or loss Agitation and sleep deprivation  …

This week is National Health Center Week. As healthcare has become more and more expensive, the need for low-cost healthcare has increased. Many people living in more rural parts of the country have a very limited number of options to see a doctor, and depending on their insurance status the number of available “in-network” doctors is even lower. Many people do not regularly see their doctor, only seeking healthcare when a more serious condition arises. It can be a stressful situation to be uninsured and have an unforeseen medical problem come up. This week is meant to celebrate and raise awareness of local community owned and operated clinics providing high quality, cost effective, accessible care to more than 27 million Americans. One of the most popular sections

of the NeedyMeds website is our listing of Free, Low-Cost, and Sliding-Scale Clinics. We list three different types of clinics on NeedyMeds.org. The first are free clinics, which provide services at no cost to the patient. The second are low-cost clinics that usually have a low flat-fee for all patients or types of visit. The third are sliding-scale clinics; the price for these clinics is based on the patient’s ability to pay, and is usually derived from their income and family size as it relates to the federal poverty level. Each clinic offers a different variety of services. We list locations by medical clinics, dental clinics, mental health clinics, and substance abuse clinics. Other services include women’s health, family planning, health screenings, vision,…

Last month, we had National Women’s Health Week. For the month of June there is Men’s Health Week, designed to encourage men to make their health a priority. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many tips for men to improve their health, and we at NeedyMeds have resources for a number of conditions that predominantly affect men. The CDC offers many ways to observe National Men’s Health Week, such as taking a bike ride, aim to eat healthier, or quit unhealthy habits. Men can improve their health by getting a good night’s sleep, quitting tobacco and avoiding second-hand smoke, being more active in daily life, eating healthier, and managing stress. Being aware of your own health is important as well. Be sure to see

your doctor for regular check-ups and get tested for diseases and conditions that may not have symptoms until there is an imminent health risk. Testicular and prostate cancers are easily detected with regular checks.   For men over 45 years of age, the most common causes of death are heart disease and cancer. Heart health is important for men and women of all ages and cancer can affect different parts of the body, including those that may appear atypical—1% of breast cancer diagnoses are found in men, and transgender men are at risk for ovarian or cervical cancer. For men younger than 45, the most common causes of death are accidental injuries and suicide. As with heart health, mental health is important to people…

May has been observed as Mental Health Month since 1949 . One in five Americans are affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime—as many as 43.8 million—and everyone is impacted through family or loved ones. A main objective of mental health awareness is to fight the stigma surrounding those living with sometimes serious conditions through education and support and to improve the chance of recovery for those in need. Everyone has stress and difficult emotions on occasion, and this is completely normal. Mental illness, however, is any condition that makes it difficult to function in daily life. It can affect relationships or job performance, and is caused by any number of complex interactions within the human brain. Mental illness can range from

anxiety or mood disorders like depression, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, eating disorders, or addictive behaviors. Mental illness is prevalent in homeless populations, with approximately 26% of adults staying in shelters living with serious mental health conditions and an estimated 46% with co-occurring severe mental illness and/or chronic substance abuse. One in five state prisoners have a recent history of mental illness. Mental health is a major concern for LGBT individuals often dealing with physical or emotional abuse, body dysmorphia, or feeling unsafe at school or work. Mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder are the third most common cause of hospitalizations in the U.S. across ages 18-44. Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Earlier this year we wrote about…

The last week of March has been LGBT Health Awareness Week since 2003. We have gone over some of the barriers to health care for some of the transgender community in previous blog posts, but it remains important to bring awareness to the unique healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and the health disparities that continue to beleaguer the lives of so many Americans. Experts report that LGBT people often avoid seeking out medical care or refrain from “coming out” to their healthcare provider. This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups: Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and

other sexually transmitted infections; lesbians are less likely to get cancer screenings; transgender individuals are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers. Even as youths, LGBT people are at higher risk of violence, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and other suicide-related behaviors. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) had helped over 10 million Americans gain insurance during the Obama administration. The ACA also prohibited health insurance marketplaces from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The 2015 Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges recognizing marriage between gay and lesbian couples throughout the United States led to more married couples to access their spouse’s health insurance.   The Trump administration has since dismantled many…