Sometimes it can be overwhelming with all the different efforts to bring awareness. Months, weeks, and even days are used for the different things people care about. It can be easy to pay attention to those that matter to us and to ignore the others.
I’m here to plead with you though, that Suicide Prevention Month is one for all of us. Especially right now.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, with World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Week also residing in September (I told you there were months, weeks, and even days to bring awareness). For some, it’s easy to run away from the word “suicide”. I get it, as suicide is a scary word and a subject no one really wants to talk about. But with it being the 10th leading cause of death, and with there being roughly 132 suicide deaths a day in the United States, we need to promote prevention as much and as often as we can.
Given the current environment of the country and even the world, many individuals are stuck at home. Being alone can amplify feelings of isolation which can coincide with suicidal thoughts and feelings. This may also limit access to important help that individuals need to stay safe. Being stuck at home can also be detrimental to those stuck with individuals harmful to personal physical, emotional, and mental health. It is immensely important right now to be promoting suicide prevention to help those around us stay safe.
I’m going to be honest with you all, I didn’t become passionate about suicide prevention until it hit too close to home. I nearly lost a friend to suicide and that was eye opening. Fast forward years later, another friend completed her suicide attempt. To this day, I still struggle and carry a lot of guilt – I feel like I didn’t do enough, despite the fact that I have been promoting suicide prevention for years and am well educated in the warning signs. One individual can’t do it all but if we work together, we can all become more educated and help those around us.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have been spending copious amounts of time at home. While adapting to this new life, we have proven that technology can be helpful in connecting us all together. There are some amazing resources available on the internet, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, To Write Love on Her Arms, and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. During Suicide Prevention Month, use your platforms to share resources. Teach others the signs of suicide and what to look out for in friends and family. Reach out to loved ones and check in on them. Educate yourselves, even if the topic scares you. Challenge yourself to end the stigma and open the conversation. Even if suicide has not impacted you directly, it may have or may be impacting someone close to you. You never know when you might be able to save a life by checking in or sharing a piece of information. Suicide Prevention Month is for everyone. Together, we can lower the death rate of suicide and create a safer place for all. As To Write Love on Her Arms has declared, “hope will not be cancelled.”