To the family, friends, and loved ones of those who’ve taken their own lives, suicide has left a lasting and painful memory to contend with. Today we’d like to discuss ways to bring attention to this very serious cause to help those who are currently suffering and help prevent suicide. While September is suicide awareness month, we know this is an important and serious topic all year long.
Those suffering from mental health problems experience a wide range of emotions and struggles, and every single person suffering is important, loved, and matters. Even during our darkest moments, our lives are important, and the world is a better place for each of us being in it. On average, suicide claims 142 lives a day. The decline of mental health and suicidal thoughts can impact people from all walks of life. People of every age, gender, and background have and do experience these feelings, and it’s important to know you aren’t alone.
During the month of September, we want everyone who may be experiencing these thoughts and feelings to know they aren’t alone. By helping to raise awareness and make resources more accessible to those in need, we hope to help those feeling these thoughts reach out and seek help navigating life in their darkest moments.
Suicide Awareness Month – Resources to Help
Depression affects roughly 25% of individuals over the age in any given year. These statistics are alarming, and for those left behind, the loss is palpable. An estimated quarter-million people are survivors of suicide annually. The American Association of Suicidology states that these numbers represent a group of people who’ve found themselves in a place where there is no better answer and no way out of their daily struggles with mental illness.
Only half of Americans who experience depression, suicidal thoughts, or have thoughts of self-harm seek treatment. We hope to encourage those struggling with these thoughts to utilize some of the below resources to seek help in conquering their demons and find ways to combat the challenges they’re facing.
Whether you find yourself struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, or a loved one or friend in your life seems to be facing mental health challenges, getting help can be pivotal in overcoming these thoughts and feelings. Below are resources to help, including hotlines, links, and ways to contact professionals who can assist.
Suicide Prevention Resources:
Suicide prevention is the best first step. Knowing how to spot the signs of an oncoming mental health crisis and recognize ways to head off these events can help recovery. Mental health professionals who provide therapies are beneficial no matter what the status of your mental health is. Seeing out psychiatric care isn’t just for recovery, it’s also a preventive and healthy way to process your thoughts and emotions before suffering a mental health crisis.
- The warning signs of suicidal behavior – Along with increased alcohol or drug use, giving away personal items, and impulsive behavior, this link provides individuals with a list of signs to look for and recognize in yourself or a loved one. Suicidal thoughts are a psychiatric emergency and should be taken seriously. Along with these behaviors, there are risk factors that may be observed and can compound a person’s sense of loss or darkness.
- Preparing for a Mental Crisis and Organizing a Wellness Recovery Plan – Regardless of the state of your mental wellness, having a plan and being prepared can help us maintain a better quality of life. Creating a wellness recovery plan along with a crisis management plan can mean the difference between identifying when we need help most and remembering that asking for help doesn’t equate weakness. When experiencing depression, sometimes knowing where to begin with getting better is the most daunting task to overcome.
- Navigating a Mental Health Crisis – Everyone experiences breaks in mental health. Feeling powerless and out of control can happen to us all. To ensure that you regain control of your mental clarity and keep from slipping farther into despair, identifying and taking action can mean the difference between life and death. If you recognize the signs of a mental health crisis, either in yourself or a loved one, please feel confident that you aren’t alone and there are people and organizations available to help you.
- Suicide Prevention Resources – SPRC gives individuals access to counselors, mental health advocates, fact sheets, crisis plans, and other resources to effectively take action during a mental health crisis.
Steps to Take to Navigate Your Mental Health Crisis:
When experiencing bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts, even getting out of bed can be difficult. Below are some resources to help individuals suffering a mental health crisis to take back control of their lives, and make it easier to take each step, one day at a time.
- Tell Your Story – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers support through sharing your personal story. We’ve written about the cathartic, healing power that sharing your personal story can have on your mental health. By sharing your story, it can help you organize your thoughts on a higher level, and can help organize and process your grief and doubts. Through the NAMI, you can read stories from others living with suicidal thoughts and find support within a community that can relate.
- Asking for Help – The Center for Suicide Prevention is here to assist you in non-confrontational ways to ask for help. Asking for help can seem overwhelming, but you aren’t alone and what you’re experiencing won’t last forever. The need to help you feel better, and recover successfully is the top priority.
Hotlines and Important Numbers:
Sometimes a decline in our mental health can sneak up on us. This doesn’t mean that you have to struggle through your challenges alone, or that by reaching out and utilizing crisis hotlines makes you weak. These hotlines are available to help you process and manage your current situation, no matter how big or small.
- 911 – Emergency services are essential in assisting those suffering from a mental health crisis. Dialing 911 when you’re feeling suicidal or having thoughts that include self-harm means immediate medical care.
- The National Suicide Hotline – Whether you’re starting to struggle with depression or your thoughts have turned suicidal, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers support in a number of ways. For instant access to crisis and mental health counselors and an immediate response that can include local and international resources to assist you in your ongoing recovery, dial 1-800-273-HELP (8255). People can also connect utilizing their live chat feature, available here: Lifeline Chat : Lifeline.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness – Phone conversations can be daunting and overwhelming to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. To reach out via text, you send the message NAMI to 741-741 to get immediate access to mental health resources and counselors via text.
- The Veterans Crisis Line – For those who have served, the burden of your experiences carries a different weight. For specialized veterans resources and access to veterans’ mental health counselors, text call 1-800-273-HELP (8255) and press 1 or text 838255.
- RAINN – The National Sexual Assault Hotline – For survivors of sexual assault, RAINN counselors and hotline operators will help you process what you’ve gone through, and help you navigate the next steps in overcoming what happened to you. Dial 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) for assistance.
- The Trevor Project – For individuals under 25 who are a part of the LGBQT+ community, the Trevor Project offers mental health support free of charge. Dial 1-866-488-7386 to connect with counselors who focus on the pressures and struggles that LGBQT+ young people face.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline (Substance Abuse) – If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis associated with substance abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is available for support. Dial 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for assistance.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a break in your mental health, suicidal thoughts, or feelings that compel you to self-harm, please reach out. These feelings are not your fault, you are not alone, and there are many people out there that want to see you happy, healthy, and safe.
Please reach out to us if you feel as though you need assistance with these resources, or need more direction to help overcome these dark and difficult times. You are loved, you are important, and your mental health should be recognized as you recover.
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