SAMHSA Offers Free Handbook For Recovery After A Suicide Attempt

By John Lavitt 11/10/15

Ninety percent of people who commit suicide have a treatable disorder.


In the wake of Suicide Prevention Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in conjunction with the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention is offering a free PDF handbook download to help with recovery after a suicide attempt.

Entitled A Journey Toward Health and Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery After a Suicide Attempt, the handbook is designed to show how treatment options can help with the root causes behind a suicide attempt. With suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide all-too-common in early recovery, the handbook is being targeted toward treatment professionals as well.

The handbook is clear that there is hope, and states that 90% of people who die by suicide have a treatable psychiatric disorder. When a psychiatric disorder is co-occurring with a substance use disorder, it is not surprising that suicide is such a problem in drug and alcohol use treatment communities.

This is why complementary treatment is needed for both the mental health problem and substance use disorder. The substance use disorder is often a symptom of underlying mental health issues with the drugs being used as a self-prescribed treatment option that does more harm than good.

In an upcoming interview with The Fix, recovery czar Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy comments on this problem, “We know that there’s a strong nexus and inter-relationship between substance use and suicide, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. It’s really important to recognize this connection not just for the substance use disorder treatment community, but for the suicide prevention community as well.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one million people die by suicide every year and nearly 3,000 people on average commit suicide daily. For every person who commits suicide, 20 or more others attempt to end their lives. World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is recognized annually on September 10.

The goal of both the handbook and the overall national strategy for ongoing suicide prevention is to:

  1. Raise awareness that suicide is preventable.
  2. Improve education about suicide.
  3. Spread information about suicide awareness.
  4. Decrease stigmatization regarding suicide.
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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.