September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time dedicated to sharing resources and stories to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic. At GR8NESS we want to use this opportunity to reach out to those affected by suicide and join forces so we can raise awareness, and connect everyone with suicidal treatment services.
Over 47,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2017. Around the world, over 800,000 deaths are attributed to suicide, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. Suicide is a complicated and tragic situation, but it’s often preventable. This Suicide Prevention Day, do your best to be involved in destigmatizing suicide, together we can help save lives.
Take a Minute
This Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, take a minute. A minute to reach out to someone in your community – a friend, family member, coworker, even a stranger – a simple “How Are You Doing?” can change someone’s life.
Evidence tells us the offer of support is likely to reduce stress, as opposed to exacerbating it. Even when someone isn’t looking for specific advice, we must be conscious and aware of suicide warning signs. Rage, anger, revenge, hopelessness, engaging in risky activities, drinking too much alcohol, are all red flags that point to someone’s struggle.
Instead of ignoring these signs, take a minute.
Take a minute to notice what’s going on around you.
Take a minute to reach out if you notice a warning sign or if someone you know is acting differently.
Take a minute to find out what kind of help is available for both you and others.
Join #BeThe1To Movement
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a campaign called #BeThe1To to spread the word about all the actions we can take to prevent suicide. This movement follows five different steps each one of us should seek to be more aware of suicide prevention.
#BeThe1To Ask: Research has shown people with suicidal thoughts feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way.
#BeThe1To Keep Them Safe: Numerous studies have also indicated that when lethal means are made less available, suicide rates by such method decline, and frequently suicide rates overall also decline.
#BeThe1To Be There: People are more likely to feel less depressed and overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.
#BeThe1To Help Them Connect: Several studies say that helping someone at risk create a network of helpful resources and individuals for support can help them take positive action.
#BeThe1To Follow Up: Brief, low-cost interventions, and supportive, on-going contact may be an essential part of suicide prevention according to various studies. This is particularly important for individuals after they have been discharged from care services.
End the Stigma
Those experiencing mental health conditions of any kind often face rejection, discrimination, and bullying. This only makes their journey to recovery longer and more challenging. When someone negatively views you because you have a mental condition, that’s stigmatization.
It’s essential to recognize that navigating life as is, is difficult enough, let alone when you try to do the same with a mental condition. Stigma can make it more challenging to reach out, get support, and to live well. Beyond learning how to cope with stigma, it should be in all of our interests to address stigma and end it.
Sometimes people don’t realize they have stigma. Take this quiz by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find out if you have stigma and what you can do to help.
Share Your Story
Let others living with mental health conditions know they are not alone. Sharing your story is a powerful method that can not only help in your own recovery but also provide others facing similar experiences with encouragement and support.
Share your story through poetry, a song, inspirational quotes, drawings, photos, and videos. Remember, your story can make a difference for yourself and others. Be honest. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has given you hope? These are all sorts of things your story can share so others can know they’re not alone.
If You Know Someone in Crisis
Use everything we’ve mentioned. If you’re in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8225). If you’re not ready to have a phone conversation, text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741. Both services are free and available for everyone 24/7.
If you’re concerned about a friend’s social media updates, dial 911 in an emergency, or contact social media outlets directly. Today, apps like Instagram allow users to report when someone isn’t right. You can report a post as a “self-injury” alert, whether it’s an eating disorder or promoting suicide, they’ll be able to reach out to that person and offer them help.
Suicide is a significant public health concern. This Suicide Prevention Day, don’t go quiet. Be there for friends, family members, or even strangers. Together we can help save lives and end the stigma surrounding mental health conditions.