Suicide is the 11th leading cause of all deaths in the United States and the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15 to 24.

In the hopes of raising awareness of this situation, the American Association of Suicidology is sponsoring the 37th annual National Suicide Prevention Week, which will take place throughout the country Sept. 4 through 10. This year's theme is "Changing the Legacy of Suicide."

This week overlaps with World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept. 10, which is recognized internationally and supported by the World Health Organization.

In the United States, one person commits suicide every 15.2 minutes. It is estimated that 4.6 million people in the United States have lost a loved one to suicide.

A total of 50.2 percent of people who die by suicide use a firearm, and guns stored in the house are used for suicide 40 times more often than for self-protection.

The stigma associated with mental illness and suicidality works against suicide prevention by discouraging persons at risk for suicide from seeking life-saving help and further traumatizes survivors of suicide, therefore statewide suicide prevention efforts should be developed and encouraged to the maximum extent possible.

Organizations such as the American Association of Suicidology, who is dedicated to reducing the frequency of suicide attempts and deaths, and the pain of survivors affected by suicides of loved ones, through educational programs, research projects, intervention services, and bereavement services urge everyone to recognize suicide as a national and state public health problem; acknowledge that no single suicide prevention program or effort will be appropriate for all populations or communities; and encourage initiatives that support the goals of the National Strategy for Suicide prevention.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides prevention support, training, and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The SPRC is a part of the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that designs, delivers and evaluates innovative programs to address some of the world's most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic opportunity.

For more information on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the American Association of Suicidology or on Suicide Prevention Week, visit www.sprc.org or www.suicidology.org.