September is suicide prevention month - a time to remember those that have been affected by suicide, to increase awareness and to help make valuable resources more accessible. Sometimes it may feel as though nothing is working and no positive changes could possibly come in the future. In the darkest of days, it’s important to remember that you are never as alone as it may seem.
Suicidal thoughts are not exclusive to those with extreme mental health conditions, but can affect anyone regardless of age, sex or upbringing. In 2019, 12 million adult Americans seriously considered ending their lives, as reported by the CDC. Whether this applies to you, a loved one or a distant friend, there are countless forms of support and effective strategies worth considering and bringing to light.
A Helping Hand
Creating and maintaining a support network for yourself or someone with suicidal ideations is an incredibly important step forward. Hopelessness can be all encompassing and make it difficult to ask for help. Feelings of guilt, shame or worry of being a burden often stop us from reaching out. But community and meaningful relationships are what sustain us.
Checking in with loved ones who are suffering from depression can go a long way. To offer a gesture even as small as a gentle “how are you feeling?” can be more helpful than you’d think. Lend an ear without judgement and start by asking how their day is going. It sounds simple, but is a great starting point and can be incredibly powerful.
Speaking Up for Those Who Suffer in Silence
A central tenet of suicide prevention month is coming together to advocate for better services and access to mental health care. Although discussion around suicide and depression is more widely accepted today than in the past, there is still a long way to go in shifting the perception of the public.
Let us use the month of September as a catalyst for change in public policy, increased mental health coverage in insurance plans and improved access to support services in underserved communities. The first step is opening up the conversation and informing those who may be unfamiliar or at first unwilling to ponder these difficult subjects. Together, we can break through the stigmas and provide help to those who need it.
Safety and Prevention
In 2019, 50% of suicides were carried out with firearms. For those that are in a particularly volatile state, limiting their access to lethal means is often an important and necessary action to take. Doing so has shown to decrease the rates of suicide by that method as well as suicide overall.
There is Hope
Suicide is no easy topic, though it is more prevalent in our society today than ever before. Between 1999 and 2019, suicide rates in the US have increased by 33%. However, we can take steps toward broader awareness, understanding and compassion for ourselves and others. More than 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not end up dying from suicide in the future. States of mind can be altered, communities can be strengthened, and the discovery of new purpose can be fostered. There is hope. Change is possible and so is viewing life in a different, more positive light.
If you find yourself facing challenges that have you feeling overwhelmed or cause you to think about hurting yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our caring professionals at Families, Inc. Give us a call or visit us at one of our 11 local clinics in Arkansas. Together, we can help you enjoy a healthier, happier life.