ROCHESTER, Minn. - The World Health Organization says every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life.
On average that's 800,000 people a year and in the United States the numbers are rising.
Between 1999 and 2018 suicide rates increased by 35% with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling suicide a growing public health problem.
Some ways we can all work to prevent suicide include reducing access to firearms and medications, early care for the mentally ill, school-based interventions and training health workers to assess and manage suicidal behavior can help too.
However, there are experts that are concerned suicidal thoughts may escalate due to economic hardship and stress caused by COVID-19.
Nikkie Niles with Olmsted County's Diversity Outreach Team explained, " With COVID-19 we don't know what the outcomes are so I think as we journey down that mental health trail, if you will, suicide or those suicidal ideations pop up more. Just that dependency on chemicals to get us through. You know, 'I've lost my job, I've lost my home. This pandemic is out there I don't know where
it's going.' So, just bringing that awareness to the limelight, leaning on other, talking to others, seeking out professional help and other resources even within our own community will help."
A traditional part of this annual observance is to light a candle near a window at 8pm.
If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For crisis support in Spanish, call 888-628-9454.
You can also text the Crisis Text Line.