Previously, Brightside posted two blogs about myths about suicide. With this month being suicide prevention month, this blog will focus on ways to get involved and how to support others who need help. Please feel welcome to check out our previous blogs about suicide as well. They may be able to provide a glimpse as to what some people are experiencing and re-frame our thinking pertaining to a person’s mind who is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Like many awareness months, this time should not be used as a time once a year to address these issues, but instead we can use this as an opportunity to continue to educate ourselves in order to be able to continually notice the signs of suicidal behaviors in other and discuss ways to support people.
How to get involved for Suicide Prevention Month:
One of the biggest ways we can get involved for suicide prevention month is by checking in and listening to people. Sometimes we may be aware of a person struggling with suicide and other times we may have no idea. Therefore, it is always important for use to let people know we are there for them and to check in.
We can educate ourselves. This is not to say you need to be a master of determining risk (that is up to a trained professional), but you can know of at least one resource to provide a person struggling with suicide (see below for a list of resources) and support them to making a phone call for help. You also can learn about some of the signs of suicide and ways to talk to people about the issue. There are many events throughout the month that will be offering education about suicide.
Share. This can be extremely scary for some people to share and discuss their own experience either with suicidal thoughts themselves or knowing someone who has died by suicide. But this can also be extremely empowering to share about the strength needed to manage these thoughts and to share about the pain that happens because of suicide. And some people may not be ready to share, and this is okay too. We don’t want to push a person to share when they are not ready or feel comfortable. We can come together to support each other in this battle and can gain strength from others as well. The more we can create an open conversation about this, hopefully the more it will tear down the stigma and allow those struggling to feel safe to share and ask for help with what they are struggling with.
Go to an event. Maybe this is a new conversation for youand maybe you have never been personally affected by suicide, or maybe this is a very close topic to you – regardless, attending walks, benefits, classes, and events can increase our knowledge of the issue, open the conversation, and foster support surrounding suicide.
Important Steps to Support a Person with Suicidal Thoughts:
Always take what a person is sharing with you seriously. Never devalue how they are feeling or say you do not believe them. A person is sharing their thoughts with you for a reason.
Listening openly and without judgement. We may not understand what a person is going through, but we can listen and be there for them and encourage them that there is help available.
If you believe there is an immediate risk situation call 911. It is up to healthcare professionals, mental health clinicians, and police to determine a person’s level of risk. If you are unsure or worried about someone, listen to that voice inside of you that is telling you something is not right and seek help for the person with them.
Below is a list of resources for those struggling with suicide or mental illness, education, and events to attend for increased education and awareness.
By Sarah Richards
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide or self-harm, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911. Please take action to support each other and yourselves. Help is available to you! On our website under “For Clients” -> “Forms” is also a list of different emergency numbers. Please feel welcome to set up an appointment by calling 303.353.9226 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or to directly set up an appointment with the author please call 720-923-2326.