WASHINGTON — September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It’s during this month that mental health advocates and counselors, prevention organizations, friends and families who have lost loved ones as well as survivors come together to bring attention to the prevalence of suicide and promote suicide prevention awareness.
Listed among the leading causes of death, suicide is of serious concern for health professionals in this country. Specifically, because it's not confined to any one subset of our population, it claims lives everywhere. Men and women; young and old; every race and economic group is at risk.
While the United States is among the world’s wealthiest nations, it has one of the highest suicide rates. Right now, some of our friends, family and neighbors are struggling in silence. They're presenting a happy face while privately dealing with a pain or torment that they see no end to.
It’s with this in mind that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has started #BeThe1To, a campaign to try to erase the stigma around suicide, and to provide the public with simple tools of actions we can use to try to help those around us who may be in need.
They recommend a few easy steps to take: The first, Be the one to Ask. In a caring way. Don’t be afraid of the tough questions. Studies show that asking after someone in this state brings them a sense of relief. Don’t worry, you’re not pushing them toward anything. In fact, you may be helping them come away from the edge.
Next: Listen, without judgment. Just doing this can help them feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful. If they are with you, keep them safe. Remove any lethal items from around them. And then help them connect with the individuals and groups who have the resources and training to get them through these moments. Follow up, check in with them. Show them that you’re still in their corner.
Finally, educate yourself. Learn as much as you can. At the minimum, know this number: 1-800-273-TALK. It’s a 24/7 lifeline for anyone who may be in distress.
The odds are, someone in your life needs someone to lean on. Don’t be afraid to be that pillar. And if you’re that person who needs help, don’t be afraid to reach out. We're here for you