September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This month, survivors, allies, mental health advocates, and other supporters gather to bring awareness to suicide, causes, and prevention resources. Now is the perfect time to participate in conversations and community events surrounding this month to help bring awareness to this growing issue and increase prevention efforts.
Suicide prevention efforts began in 1958 with a suicide prevention center in Southern California. Later in 2001, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) started the first program in the U.S. that established crisis centers for individuals at risk of suicide. This effort then lead to the emergence of crisis centers all over the country. Finally, in 2012 the United States came up with a long-term prevention plan for suicide prevention. You can learn more about the timeline that sparked National Suicide Prevention month here.
Here is how you can help:
1. Volunteer For Hotline/Textline
Thanks to cell phones and landline phones, reaching out for help during a mental health crisis can happen a lot quicker than in the past. As a volunteer, you will connect with a person through a text or phone call and assist them. All you need is a computer with a stable wifi connection, and training that will occur before volunteering. Learn more about volunteering with Crisis Text Line, an organization that is often accepting new applications.
2. Share Facts
Another way to get involved during National Suicide Prevention Month is to share statistics and information regarding suicide on social media. However, make sure that the information you share is from trusted sources such as National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention has developed a tool called “Framework For Successful Messaging,” that assists in sharing resources or general messages surrounding suicide. The organization believes messages, as well as resources, should be safe, strategic, and positive.
3. Encourage People To Seek Help
Unfortunately, people are hesitant to reach out for help. According to Psychiatry.org, “more than half of people with mental illness don’t receive help for their disorders. Oftentimes, people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. This is largely due to the stigma around mental illness. However, you can help break the stigma by providing a safe space for your community members. Remind people that you are there for them. And if you do not have the mental capacity to help them, then you can share some resources.
4. Search Up Local Events
National Suicide Prevention Month is an important month that brings awareness to suicide through events and discussions while also helping people who are at risk.
Use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to research events dedicated to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. At these events, you could meet like-minded people and come up with ideas for how to take action during the month of September and beyond.
If you or anyone else you know needs help call 1-800-273-8255.