Suicide Prevention – How do I help?
We all want to help in suicide prevention, but often we can feel helpless. According to the CDC, in 2020, an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.2 million attempted suicide. These numbers are striking and many people ask the question, “What can I do?”
Here are five great ways to start.
1. Show your support for national suicide prevention awareness month this September
The National Alliance on Mental Illness explained, “September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide.”
Overall, the more suicide prevention is talked about, the less stigmatized it will be. Consider wearing a wristband or lapel pin to strike up a conversation about your support for suicide prevention month. You never know if that simple item could be the sign someone needs.
2. Show support to your friends with anxiety and depression.
If your friends cancel plans or don’t feel like they have the energy to go out, respond by saying, “Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing your mental health. I look forward to seeing you once you feel better.” Also, consider sending a message this month to remind your friends of how grateful you are. Send messages such as, “I love you and nothing will ever change that” or “I appreciate our friendship and wanted to tell you why.”
Even a few words of encouragement can often mean a lot more.
3. Know the signs.
There is no single cause of suicide. As you engage with close friends and family, however, there are some distinguishable warning signs to be educated about.
4. Reduce access to lethal means of suicide in your home.
Read through this checklist to learn how to reduce access to lethal means of suicide where you can.
5. Remember the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline resource
As of July 16, the suicide prevention hotline can be accessed by dialing 988. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Dialing 988 does not replace the suicide prevention hotline, but it allows easier access. Consider wearing our “There’s Hope There’s Help Prevent Suicide” purple and blue rubber wristband. Imprinted on the inside is the message, “For help call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741”.
While we know that our simple items don’t save lives, we believe the conversations you start while wearing them can.