How To Make a Difference During Suicide Prevention Month

What is Suicide Prevention Month?

Every September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide can be a scary topic to talk about but its important to speak up, check out these sobering statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States
  • About 132 people die by suicide every single day
  • In 2018, there were a whopping 1.4 million suicide attempts
  • The trend seems to be that suicide rates climb every year

With National Suicide Prevention Month, we have a whole month to dedicate to trying to reverse the trend and turn those numbers around. We can use this month to raise awareness about suicide, open up a dialogue about mental health, and actively work towards suicide prevention.

Having a conversation about Suicide Prevention: Eradicating Shame & Stigma

We as a society act like suicide is taboo. It’s often steered clear of as a topic of conversation, and whenever we do talk about it, it seems like its very “hush hush.”

However, It’s crucial that we talk openly about mental health, suicide included, even though it can be uncomfortable. People are getting more comfortable opening up about mental health in general, but it seems as though suicide is a topic that many are still silent about. Let’s not be silent during Suicide Prevention Month. Let’s show everyone that we are not afraid to talk about mental health and suicide prevention. Let’s show them that we are allies and here to help anyone who may be suffering in silence.  

There’s a stigma surrounding suicide, that people who attempt suicide or die by suicide are weak or selfish. Of course, there’s also the “crazy” label, which is completely inaccurate and only perpetuates stigmas. It’s no wonder that suicidal people might be afraid to open up about feeling suicidal, because they’re afraid they’ll be negatively judged, and not helped. So let’s work on smashing this stigma during Suicide Prevention Month.

The more we talk about mental health and suicide prevention, the more comfortable we – and others – will become talking about it. The more we all talk about it, the less of a stigma there will be. Then, hopefully, people will feel comfortable to open up to friends, family, or professionals if they are feeling suicidal. 

If you are feeling suicidal now, know that you don’t need to feel shame, although that is probably how society makes you feel for having these thoughts. You are no less of a person for having suicidal thoughts, and you are not weak or selfish.

The Warning Signs for Suicide Prevention

A lot of suicide prevention has to do with awareness, including being aware of the warning signs that you or someone else is suicidal. First, let’s look at risk factors. Some risk factors for suicide are:

  • Having a mental health condition
  • Having a serious physical health condition
  • Having a family history of suicide 
  • Having past suicide attempts
  • Going through stressful life events or having prolonged stress

Aside from these risk factors, there are verbal and behavioral clues you can look for to see if someone might be suicidal, whether it’s Suicide Prevention Month or not.

  • If they talk about being a burden
  • If they talk about having no reason to live
  • If they explicitly talk about wanting to die or kill themselves 
  • If they are increasing their use of alcohol or drugs
  • If they are isolating themselves and withdrawing from activities
  • If they are giving away their possessions and saying goodbye to people

These are not the only signs, but they are usually the main ones. Always pay attention and lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on when a loved one needs your help. If someone opens up to you, it was probably really hard for them to do so, so be sure to meet them where they are with respect and understanding and do not be dismissive. This is the key to suicide prevention. 

Supporting Others with Suicide Prevention

We need to be there for each other now more than ever. Here’s how you can actively play a role in suicide prevention, during Suicide Prevention Month and all year long.

  • Don’t shy away from tough conversations
  • Make it known that you are an ally 
  • Be empathetic towards others
  • Consider donating to or volunteering with suicide prevention organizations. They might even have some special projects going on for Suicide Prevention Month that you can get involved in. Even just sharing links to these pages on your social media can make a difference. Some examples are:

If you are trying to help someone who is actively suicidal, here’s what you can do to support them with suicide prevention.

  • Take the situation seriously
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Tell them you are there for them and care about them
  • Stay with them to keep them company 
  • Provide them with the following resources that are suicide/crisis hotlines. You can call them, too, and they will give you guidance on how to help your suicidal friend:
  • Remove any weapons or tools they might use to kill themselves in order to keep them safe
  • Bring them to a mental health provider or ER if necessary

During Suicide Prevention Month, you can also share these invaluable tips with others so that they know how to help a friend if the situation arises for them.

How The Daily Shifts Can Help You with Suicide Prevention

Looking for some tools to use to improve your mental health, or to recommend to a friend who may be suffering during Suicide Prevention Month? 

Here are some resources that can help:

  • Use the Daily Shifts App to easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Research shows that mindfulness can be very beneficial for mental health, particularly anxiety and depression. The Daily Shifts App will help you practice mindfulness in a simple way so that you can really integrate the practice into your life. 
  • Read our free eBook to learn five happiness hacks to feel better today by creating changing your focus and investing in yourself. 
  • Take our “Shift My Life” course to learn how to love yourself, find your purpose, and navigate big life changes.  
  • Attend our free webinar where you will learn how to feel like you are “enough” as well as how to problem-solve some issues you may be facing in life.

Remember, suicide is a big issue in the world right now, but it is preventable. With hard work and carrying out the effort that we put in during Suicide Prevention Month all year long, we can make a big difference in the world and our communities.

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