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Suicide Prevention Month is Coming to a Close

September 2023 is Suicide Prevention Month. This is a time when we can all advocate for suicide prevention, spread awareness, and learn how to help someone who is contemplating suicide.

In the last year in the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has simplified its phone number to 988.

If you dial 988, you will be connected with someone 24/7.

If you are outside the United States, you can find a suicide hotline number on the Resources tab.

Suicide causes an enormous loss of life each year. Each loss is tragic for both the individual and their family. When a life is lost to suicide, often we haven't seen any warning signs prior to suicide taking place. As we mourn these losses, we need to learn how to do better for everyone in our society still contemplating suicide today.

Causes of Suicide

There are many reasons why people contemplate suicide, but there is a common thread that runs through all of them. It is a feeling of hopelessness. When you feel hopeless about your life and your situation, then you don't have a belief that things in your life can get better. This makes ending your life feel like a solution.

According to Mind, some common causes of suicide include:

  • Mental health problems

  • Bullying, prejudice or stigma, such as relating to your race, gender, disability or sexual identity

  • Different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse

  • Bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide

  • The end of a relationship

  • Long-term physical pain or illness

  • Adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy

  • Money problems

  • Housing problems, including homelessness

  • Isolation or loneliness

  • Being in prison

  • Feeling inadequate or a failure

  • Addiction or substance abuse

  • Pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression

  • Doubts about your sexual or gender identity

  • Cultural pressure, such as forced marriage

  • Society's expectations, for example to act a certain way or achieve certain things

  • Other forms of trauma

As you look at this list, you will probably realize that the reasons behind why people commit suicide are varied, and complex. There isn't just one reason why people contemplate suicide.

Although mental health risk factors such as depression contribute to suicidal ideation, there are other societal risk factors as well. This means, in addition to providing better mental healthcare and treatment for everyone in our society who needs this type of care, we need to help people who are struggling with other deep seated issues as well.

Suicide happens because so many of the problems that people face on a daily basis feel like they are insurmountable. These pervasive issues within our society that cause people to feel hopeless can lead us to realize a need for greater social justice within our society. We need to create a world where everyone feels wanted, loved and valued.

Of course, this level of social change can't happen overnight. It will take all of us working together to make the world a better place.

However, in the short term, we can work to help those who are suffering with suicidal ideation on a more personal level. We can do this through training ourselves in suicide prevention techniques, and learning to help someone in our own lives who may be considering suicide.

When we show compassion and truly listen to someone who is struggling, it can make all the difference in the world. By listening and empathizing, we can show them that they aren't truly alone in their struggle. This can lighten their mental load and help them feel supported.

It is also important to be aware of resources to help those that are contemplating suicide. This can include the suicide hotline, as well as crisis centers and emergency rooms in our local area. If someone you love is contemplating suicide, you can help them to seek out these resources, and then stay with them to provide support during their intake into psychiatric care.

Learning to help others in our lives that are contemplating suicide is the first step. Becoming involved at a community level through advocacy and awareness can continue this important work, by making our society a better place to live for everyone.

As suicide prevention month comes to a close, it is important to remember that the issue of suicide is ever present in our society. It doesn't just go away once the month of September is over. There is still work to be done. There are still people suffering every day.

Let your kind and compassionate heart be your guide, be open and receptive to others, and let the people in your life know that you are a safe and non-judgmental person to talk to if they are ever contemplating suicide.

To share the message of suicide prevention online, you can find sharable graphics and social media text on SAMSHA's website.

Post Copy - Facebook: This Suicide Prevention Month, the #988Lifeline is here to help everyone, no matter what you are going through. Connect with a trained crisis counselor who is ready to support you. #YouMatter #SuicidePrevention

Post Copy - Twitter: 988 is here to help with your emotional needs—including thoughts of suicide. Chat with us, whatever your reason, anytime. #YouMatter #988Lifeline #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention

Post Copy - Instagram: This Suicide Prevention Month, know that the #988Lifeline is here for everyone—no matter the reason someone is struggling. #YouMatter #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention #SuicidePreventionMonth #MentalHealthMatters #Suicide

Be well, my lovelies. Remember, there is always hope in life, no matter how hard it may be to find at any given time. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts yourself, there is help available. Feel free to reach out if you need a listening ear.

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