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.
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.
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