TW: DISSCUSSION OF SUICIDE, SUICIDE PREVENTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
- 1 in 4 Americans 18 years or older struggle with mental health issues.
- 46% of people who die by suicide are diagnosed with mental health condition.
Suicide has quickly become the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. Mental Health knows no gender, age or race and this September we are raising awareness for Suicide Prevention.
Before we go any further, if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or struggling with mental health please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-TALK (8255). If you are uncomfortable calling, you can text NAMI to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911.
Here are just a few of the many things to know about Suicide Prevention:
National Suicide Prevention Month
Created in 2008 after a rise in suicidal deaths, National Suicide Prevention Month creates a safe space for people to acknowledge suicide, raise awareness for warning signs, and provide resources to those struggling with suicidal thoughts. It is not uncommon for people to miss the warning signs of suicide in their loved ones, until it is too late. National Suicide Prevention Month hopes to help educate the public on measures to take during a crisis and create a open space for communication among loved ones.
End the Stigma
Recently there have been many great changes in the way we talk about mental health. Yet, there is still a long way to go before many people are comfortable talking about mental health. NAMI highlights “Together for Mental Health” in the month of September. Encouraging people to bring their voices together and advocate for better mental health care, in hopes to end the stigma around mental health.
Asking for help is something most of us struggle with in our daily lives. We get caught up in the narrative that society has written, telling us that asking for help is viewed as a weakness. I’m here to tell you it isn’t. All of us, at one point or another, will need help along the journey to better mental health.
Seeking help is the first step towards creating a better relationship with your mind. Whether you seek help from a licensed therapist, medical professional, friend, or family member. We often mask our true feelings/thoughts in order to spare the feelings of others. Know that you are not a burden for voicing your needs, and you are brave for asking for help.
You Are Not Alone
90% of people who contemplate suicide have experienced mental health symptoms. While that number is much higher than anyone would like, it means something very important. You are not alone. Thoughts of suicide can be terrifying. You are fighting a battle internally that no one else can see.
Please remember that your current struggles are only temporary. Even though things may seem dark at the moment, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Things DO get better!
Warning signs for thoughts of suicide can look different for everyone. But here are a few to watch out for:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Drastic changes in mood
- Reckless behavior with no regard to their own safety
- Giving away prized possessions
- Tying up loose ends: like paying off bills
- Holding conversations that sound a lot like saying “goodbye”
For more information on warning signs of suicide visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website.
Check on your loved ones
No one is ever prepared to hear that their loved one is having suicidal thoughts. It can be overwhelming for both parties involved. So much so that many times we are often in denial at the thought of someone we love taking their own life. We try to reason with them by saying things like “You have a great life.” and listing all the reasons why you feel they shouldn’t be sad.
While these comments come from a place of love, more often than not aren’t helpful in that moment. When addressing the topic of suicide, we want to make sure there is honest and open communication from both parties. And above all, we want to make sure that the person struggling feels loved, cared for, and supported during a time of intense struggle.
Here are some tips for helping a loved one through the process of dealing with suicidal thoughts:
- Agree on a time for daily check in’s and phone calls
- Make sure your loved one feels safe at that moment
- Listen to what they’re trying to tell you by creating honest communication
- Be patient. Admitting you are having suicidal thoughts can be an extremely difficult thing to talk about for all parties involved.
- Ask if you can reach out to a medical professional for more help
If you take one piece of information away from this article, I hope it’s this. Even in the darkest of moments, there is always hope. If you ever feel like you don’t belong in this world, I promise you, you do. Your life is special and I’m so glad you are here with us.