There is no shortage of specially designated days, weeks, and months designed to celebrate different things, activities, and events. From hot dogs to bow ties, everything seems to have its own celebration, and there’s nothing wrong with having a little extra fun on a given day. However, sometimes, there are designated days or months designed to do a little more than celebrate, and instead to raise awareness about important causes. While it might be tempting to brush them aside in favor of Waffle Week or Honey Month, it’s also important to give these topics their due. In addition to other, more fun topics, September has been acknowledged as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, during which awareness about suicide and how to prevent it is raised.
Understanding the Facts
If you’re going to participate in raising awareness, it’s first important to understand suicide and fight misunderstandings on the topic. It goes without saying that suicide, or suicidal ideation, is not a failure on anyone’s part, and that anyone, regardless of sex or gender, race, age, or other factors. There are, however, certain facts to know. Men are more likely to die by suicide, but women are significantly more likely to attempt suicide, and suicide is the 12th leading cause of death for individuals in the USA. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for children aged 10-14, and the 3rd for children and young adults 15-24 years old.
The above facts might sound scary, but the fact is, suicide is entirely preventable. While it is no one individual’s responsibility to prevent another person from harming themselves, it is our collective responsibility to help one another be our best and healthiest selves, and keep one another safe.
With this in mind, there are some things to know about suicide prevention. The DHS website provides a list of warning signs that an individual may be battling suicidal thoughts, including a preoccupation with death, dramatic behavioral changes, and a sudden appearance of preparing for death. They also recommend the ACE model of preventative care: ask, care, escort. This model begins by asking the individual directly if they are struggling with such thoughts, displaying care and concern for their well-being, and escort them to the appropriate services and resources.
The best resource for individuals struggling with suicidal ideation may vary, but 1-800-273-8255 is the Suicide Lifeline, and provides a valuable source for anyone in need of guidance.
While this information may be helpful for those who wish to help a loved one, there are important takeaways for those who struggle with such thoughts as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out, either to a loved one or a mental health professional, and express your need for care and support.