September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Gen Z, and every forty seconds someone’s life is taken through suicide. Suicide prevention is something that we should take seriously year-round, but this month is a time that we can really learn more and spread awareness about how we can all do our part in preventing suicide. This can be a very difficult and uncomfortable topic, but it cannot be stigmatized or swept under the rug. Here are 5 ways that you can get involved today and some free resources that you can take advantage of.
1. Promote Awareness
A lot of people don’t realize how common suicide is. Destigmatize talking about it by educating those around you. Social media can be a powerful tool for showing your support and increasing awareness. There are lots of great campaigns like Movember and #WorthLivingFor that are centered around people who have felt suicidal in the past and are glad that they are alive today, or people who have shared why they continue living even when times have made them feel otherwise. Share these messages. There may be someone in your network who sees it that it makes a difference for.
2. Look For Warning Signs
Some warning signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors can be easy to detect while others can be harder. Here are a few signs to keep an eye out for:
- Talking about feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
- Withdrawing from others, social isolation
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Accessing lethal objects: stockpiling prescriptions, purchasing a weapon, etc.
- Saying goodbye to friends or family
Some of these things can be easily hidden or by themselves may seem harmless, but it’s best to observe these warning signs and make sure that we do not ignore them before it’s too late.
3. Actively Check In and Listen
If someone in your life does show signs of suicidal behavior, check in on them. Studies show that just asking someone in a caring way if they’ve had thoughts about killing themselves has provided instant relief. It shows that you care and are concerned. It shows that they are not alone.
If someone you know is experiencing signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, check on them. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask if there’s anything that you can do to support them. But don’t just leave it at that. Check in on them frequently to show them that they are cared for and have someone to turn to.
4. Recommend a Mental Health Professional
If someone is having thoughts of suicide, you can certainly offer support, and we recommend it. But encourage them to see a mental health professional as well. Those who do commit suicide often are struggling with a mental illness or have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past, so it’s important that they receive the proper help. At Life Adjustment Team, we are able to provide this support and guide others to living fulfilling, meaningful lives, even during what may seem like their darkest times. Please contact us so that we can help you or your loved one.
Volunteer with organizations such as SAVE or Suicide Prevention Lifeline to organize events, become trained to provide support to those who are in crisis or more. There are several great organizations that you can partner with as a volunteer and provide direct support to those in need. If you are looking for a hands-on way to get involved, this is it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line if you aren’t comfortable with speaking to someone over the phone
TrevorLifeline : Available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Text is available by texting “START” to 678678. Crisis support for LGBTQ individuals under 25 in times of crisis
Veterans Crisis Line : Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255