September 10, 2023, marks World Suicide Prevention Day, kicking off National Suicide Prevention Week from September 10 through September 16, 2023. Addressing suicide prevention can feel like an overwhelming challenge at first. The complexity of the issue, the emotions it evokes, and the societal stigma surrounding it can leave us unsure of how to help. But fear not, for there are meaningful ways in which each of us can play a part in preventing suicide. While this list is not exhaustive, here are some suggestions to get you started:
Utilize Your Phone as a Tool: Turn your phone into a valuable resource for assisting those in crisis. Save important numbers like 988, the national suicide and crisis helpline, and the Hey Sam text line (1-877-832-0890) for young people. Encourage others to do the same to create a support network.
Create an “If I’m Struggling” Note: Prepare a note in your phone with the names and contact information of three people who offer support when you’re feeling down. Also, jot down three self-help techniques for coping with anxiety or distress. By doing this, you’re providing a guide for someone to help you in times of crisis and encouraging others to do the same.
Ask Questions & Listen: Overcome the stigma by engaging in open and non-judgmental conversations with individuals you believe may be struggling. It’s crucial to directly address the topic of suicide if you’re concerned about someone’s well-being. Asking them if they’re considering suicide can create a safe space for them to share their feelings.
Practice Active Listening: When someone is going through a difficult time, be present and attentive. Listen with empathy and refrain from immediately offering solutions. Sometimes, the simple act of lending an ear can be incredibly comforting.
Break the Stigma: Help create an environment where people feel safe discussing their struggles. Participate in events and discussions centered around mental health and suicide prevention, engaging in meaningful conversations with those around you. Educate yourself on the subject and share what you learn, encouraging others to join the conversation.
By taking these steps, you’re already contributing to the collective effort of building a world without suicide. Remember, preventing suicide is a communal mission, and together we can make a significant impact. Thank you for joining us on this journey.