National Suicide Prevention Day

When mental health problems affect so many people around us, it’s important that we all take part in national suicide prevention day (September 10, 2018). You don’t have to go out and do something big, but start by doing something small. This year’s theme for suicide prevention is, “The Power of Connection.” But what does that mean?

The Power of Connection is all about connecting with other people and the influence that can have on mental health. When we connect with other people, we are opening ourselves up to meaningful relationships.  And when we feel like we are safe talking to someone else about our feelings, we don’t feel so alone in the world.

If you or someone you know has ever experienced depression, you’ll know that sometimes people with depression can experience a kind of downward negative spiral, where they feel trapped in negativity. These incessant, negative thoughts will leave them feeling hopeless and unmotivated. And often, they aren’t sharing these feelings with others. But when they do decide to open up to someone else, a friend can help them reframe things and help them out of the trap of hopelessness.

Connections are about more than just having business contacts through LinkedIn or virtual friends on Facebook. Connection is about finding a way to connect with others who can build you up and help you find hope.

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Making Connections on National Suicide Prevention Day

Making connections is a great way to participate in National Suicide Prevention Day. You can probably name off a couple of people you know who struggle with mental health, but there are probably a lot more who you don’t know experience difficulty with their mental health. Every day we talk to people who are suffering silently.

Because we don’t see depression or anxiety the same way we can identify a broken arm or a bruised knee, it can be hard to know who is needing our help. And perhaps some people don’t want you to know about their struggles with mental health because of the stigma associated with it.

A good rule of thumb is to just connect with the people you already know. For National Suicide Prevention Day, you don’t have to go seek out someone new. Start with the people around you. Make connections with them and let them know you care about them.

There are so many people who feel alone in the world, even when they have friends nearby. And that’s because people aren’t reaching out to each other to make connections.

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Ways to Connect

Making a connection with someone can be something so simple. Here are some ideas that you can use to connect with people:

  • Start a conversation with someone at the grocery store (such as the checkout clerk or the greeter at the door).
  • Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Scroll through your Facebook friends and randomly choose someone, and send them a message.
  • Sit down and join your family member in whatever they’re doing and talk to them.
  • Invite someone to go out to ice cream with you.
  • Think about which of your friends you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time, and reach out to them.
  • Tell someone why you appreciate them.
  • Make plans with someone you care about.
  • Ask people how they’re doing, and when they respond, “Good,” ask them how they’re really doing with life. Perhaps disclose how you are doing (if you are feeling stressed or sad, etc.). Self-disclosure can go a long way and help the other person feel more comfortable opening up.
  • Invite some friends over to play games or to eat dinner.

There are so many ways you can connect on National Suicide Prevention day, but don’t let the connections stop after September 10th!

Making National Suicide Prevention Day Every Day

It’s nice that there’s one day a year where everyone celebrates National Suicide Prevention Day, but extending the ideas of suicide prevention to every day is the real goal.

This year’s theme, “The Power of Connection,” is such a great theme because it speaks to something we can do every day. Don’t let a day go by without connecting with someone. Every little effort you make to connect is helping prevent suicide.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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Suicide Prevention: Noticing the Warning Signs and How to Help

Four in five people know that suicide is preventable. But do they know how? Suicide prevention starts with knowing the warning signs and then taking action to help.

September 9th through 15th is National Suicide Prevention Week and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, so we thought we’d join with the voices to prevent suicide and outline the warning signs of suicide and how to prevent suicide.

Since 1975, the National Suicide Prevention Week has brought people together to bring awareness to suicide, the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. The goal of National Suicide Prevention week is to raise awareness for the growing problem in our country and engage in discussion about mental illness, warning signs, and resources for someone struggling with thoughts of suicide. This year’s theme, “The Power of Connection”, emphasizes our ability to understand people, to love them, and to want to help them.

 

Suicide Prevention: The Warning Signs

It’s hard to tell when someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide, here’s what to watch out for according to the American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Talking about self harming or talking about having no purpose in life
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Feeling of hopeless
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Isolating themselves/withdrawing from activities
  • Substance abuse

If you notice any of these signs in yourself, it’s important that you seek out the help of a mental health professional.

 

The Role of Therapy Suicide Prevention

There’s no one cause that determines if someone commits suicide, but an underlying mental illness can be a risk factor. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the nation and is present in at least half of all cases of suicide. If you or someone you know could be struggling with depression or another mental illness, it’s important that you seek the help of a therapist.

Mental health professionals are specially trained to handle someone who may be at risk for suicide or who may be already showing signs of suicidal ideation. “Suicidal ideation” is the term that’s used to mean that someone is thinking about suicide. Therapy is a crucial step in overcoming mental illness and getting rid of suicidal thoughts.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) have been shown to be successful interventions for people with multiple suicide attempts.

Suicide Prevention: How to Help

There are multiple ways you can help in the battle of suicide prevention. Maybe you’ll be the person who will drive a loved one who’s in crisis to the emergency room, or you’re sitting next to them as they call the suicide hotline phone number. Or maybe you’re volunteering for an event to increase awareness of suicide prevention.

Here’s a list of some things you can do to support in suicide prevention.

  • If you feel that a person may be at immediate risk for suicide, call 911
  • Share the number for the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with people you know or on social media: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Get involved in volunteer opportunities near you
  • If someone you know seems more withdrawn than usual, reach out to them.
  • Read/share stories of survival and hope here

Don’t be afraid to speak up and help someone who’s struggling. The power of connection will make a difference.

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