“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Ian McLaren
With suicide as one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, it is important to raise awareness and provide education about this issue.
National Suicide Prevention Week starts today. From September 10 – 16, individuals and organizations around the world join their voices to broadcast the message that suicide can be prevented. We need to reach as many people as possible with the right tools and resources to support them and those around them.
This post was originally published on Each Mind Matters.
Here are a few basic things you should know:
You can prevent suicide.
Most of us have been touched in some way by the tragedy of suicide. We may have lost someone close to us or been moved by the loss of someone we may have never met. When a suicide happens, those left behind often experience deep shock.
Even if they knew the person was struggling, they may not have expected suicide would be the result. However, many people who find themselves in a suicide crisis can and do recover. You can help by taking the following actions:
- Know the Signs: Most people who are considering suicide show some warning signs of their intentions. You can learn how to recognize these warning signs and how to respond to them by visiting the Know the Signs website.
- Find the Words: If you are concerned about someone, ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. This can be difficult to do, but being direct provides an opportunity for them to open up and talk about their distress. It will not suggest the idea to them if they aren’t already thinking about it. The “Find the Words” section of the Know the Signs website suggests ways to start the conversation.
- Reach Out: You are not alone in this. You can become familiar with some resources to offer to the person you are concerned about. Visit the “Reach Out” section of the Know the Signs website to identify where you can find help for your friend or loved one.
Many people who feel suicidal don’t really want to die, but may feel it’s the answer at the time of crisis. But if they can get through the crisis, treatment works. There are programs and practices that have been specifically developed to support people in a suicide crisis. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center hosts a registry of 160 programs, practices, and resources. You can learn more about them by visiting their website.
Help is available.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255- TALK) offers 24/7 free and confidential assistance from trained counselors. Callers are connected to the nearest available crisis center. The Lifeline is also available in Spanish. Additionally, counselors specifically trained to support veterans are available by selecting a prompt.
Visit the “Reach Out” section of the Know the Signs resources page to find local services and supports.
The Know the Signs campaign is one of several statewide initiatives funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). The MHSA provides “funding, personnel and other resources to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition age youth, adults, older adults and families.”
The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) administers these efforts. They are part of Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement.
You can also read our “How to Achieve Inner Peace During a Crisis” here.
Add your voice to World Suicide Prevention Day
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is an opportunity to join millions of others around the globe to focus public attention on preventing suicide. We can achieve this through diverse activities that promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
Find out more about joining this collective call to action by visiting www.iasp.info/wspd/.