There are an average of 123 suicides each day in this country. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24. In order to create awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide, the entire month of September is Suicide Prevention Month. Participate in the fight by getting involved with local organizations and listening to those who need help.
National Suicide Prevention Month - History
U.S. creates long-term prevention plan
It's called The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. — and concludes that the goal of saving lives can only be achieved through a series of coordinated steps.
A youth suicide prevention grant program is passed
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act creates the first grant program that specifically aids in suicide prevention.
Crisis centers are established nationally
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) creates the country’s first program aimed at serving all persons at risk of suicide in the US via local, certified crisis centers.
A suicide prevention task force is created
The National Institute of Mental Health assembles a task force in Phoenix to discuss the status of suicide prevention in the country.
A suicide prevention center opens
Thanks to funding from the U.S. Public Health Service, the first suicide prevention center opens in Southern California.
How to Observe National Suicide Prevention Month
1. Spread the message
Throughout Suicide Prevention Month, it’s extremely important to spread awareness, take time to reach out to those in need and help people understand the severity of this cause. How? Hand out Suicide Prevention pins, start a campaign, and share stories of hope on social media.
2. Volunteer at a crisis center
Provide support by volunteering at a crisis center in your area. Although this is something that can be done year-round, Suicide Prevention Month is the perfect time to get started. Check out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an organization that offers free and confidential emotional support 24/7 to those in crisis or emotional distress.
3. Record a supportive video
This is an easy option that doesn’t cost money or time, so anyone can do it. Simply record a 15-30 second video promising your friends to listen to anything they need to say. Then, use the hashtags #suicideispreventable #800273TALK #LETITOUT.
5 No-nonsense Tips To Help Someone In Crisis
1. Ask direct questions
Even though it's hard, ask a person directly if they’re thinking about suicide.
2. Listen to their answers
People with suicidal thoughts often feel alone, so be sure to let them know that you care deeply about what they have to say.
3. Do a safety check
If you're concerned for their well-being, try removing anything they could use to harm themselves, such as alcohol, drugs, medications, weapons, and even access to a car.
4. Don't keep this a secret
Let them know you’ll help come up with a plan that involves telling a professional who can utilize the many services and resources available to help.
5. Ensure they seek professional help
Unless you work in the mental health industry, it's important to suggest they seek additional help from other people, such as a doctor, counselor, psychologist or social worker.
Why National Suicide Prevention Month is Important
A. It promotes awareness
Suicide prevention organizations aim to decrease suicides by 20 percent over the next seven years. In order to do this, they're making a conscious effort to talk about suicide — its warning signs, how to prevent it, how to discuss it, etc.— in school, at the workplace, and in politics.
B. It starts a dialogue
There's a stigma connected to suicide, so too often it's not talked about — and those who suffer from it feel they can't discuss it. Suicide Prevention Month helps to destigmatize this mental illness and promote conversation.
C. It initiates change
Thanks to Suicide Prevention Month, approaches to suicide are beginning to change. For example, schools and workplaces are implementing new programs and even pop culture is acknowledging it. For example, the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” portrays the severity of suicide, the struggles leading to this tragic decision, as well as how it affects those left behind. The Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is using this platform to its advantage by turning the issues on the show into a national conversation.