September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo topic. Despite progress in recent years, many people still maintain inaccurate and stigmatizing stereotypes towards others with mental health difficulties, which have led to suicide. This is a time to show compassion for those affected by suicide, to raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal thoughts to treatment services.
- Suicide affects everyone, not just victims. Suicide impacts family and friends long after the loss of a loved one.
- If you feel someone is at risk, take time to talk with them. Research shows that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring, non-judgmental way.
- Help them stay safe. Studies show that fewer suicides occur when people have less access to lethal means.
- Encourage supportive connections. If someone is at risk, help them establish a network of people and support. This will help them take positive action and reduce feelings of isolation and hopelessness.
NAMI.org has put together some important resources for individuals and their family members to help.
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
- Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.