Recognizing National Suicide Prevention Month
More than 47,500 people die by suicide each year in America, making it the 10th leading cause of death overall nationwide. Please know there is hope.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Sunday, Sept. 5–Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicidal thoughts, much like other mental health issues, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, orientation, race/ethnicity or social status. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month seeks to de-stigmatize talking about both the leading causes of suicide and issues that often prevent people for reaching out for help as well.
If you or someone you know may be suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (7255), visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org, text “HELLO” to 741741. Please read below for more information about warning signs and how to help someone who may be struggling.
LOOK FOR WARNING SIGNS
There are several behaviors that may be indicative of someone contemplating suicide. While common, one should be extremely careful not to regard suicidal thoughts or talk about them as normal and instead as indicative of a potentially serious health matter. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, these signs may include:
- Openly talking about wanting to die, feeling great guilt or shame and/or being a burden on others
- Feeling empty, hopeless, having no reason to live, unbearable emotional or physical pain
- Researching ways to die, withdrawing from friends/social activities, giving away important items; and
- Showing extreme mood swings, eating or sleeping much more or less and/or taking dangerous risks.
KNOW WHAT TO AND WHAT NOT TO SAY
If you think someone you know may be suicidal, knowing what not to say is just as important as knowing what might be helpful. This includes not being judgmental, acting shocked, showing interest and support in their situation and getting help from people or agencies that specialize in crisis intervention/suicide prevention.
Additionally, look for ways you can safely prevent them from carrying out their possible plan by removing dangerous items from their immediate vicinity. Experts also recommend never promising to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret and instead listening to their reasons and focus on their reasons for living without imposing yours as to why they should.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
Letting others know that you support their mental health doesn’t have to be done directly. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline encourages using the hashtag #BeThe1To on social media to promote awareness about suicide prevention as well as being there for those who may be in crisis. Each of the major social media platforms also has different resources to help if you notice potentially concerning posts online as well.
There are also graphic kits that can be posted and shared online; donating to and/or volunteering at local crisis centers can also be a good way to help others in your community as well.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Again, if you or someone you know may be suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (7255), visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org, text “HELLO” to 741741 or visit our Resources page today.
About Boone County Alliance
Since 2010, BCA has devoted its energy to develop and implement individual and community strategies to combat the local substance abuse dilemma. In order to achieve its mission of a united community where all youth are drug free, BCA engages in activities related to prevention, advocacy, and collaboration. BCA focuses on prevention of underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse/abuse.