National Suicide Prevention Month

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It's September, which to most is just another month. No particularly special holidays, nothing special to note. It's the beginning of the school year, end of summer, another block of time in the year.
Except that that couldn't be more wrong.

September is the month for suicide prevention awareness. Events surrounding the month include sharing stories, resources, and raising awareness to an overly stigmatized tragedy. It can be done over social media, at school, or with an organization. No act is too small when it comes to saving lives.
With the large variety of things going on throughout the month of September, it's good to actually know what resources are available and how you can play a part in getting the word out and being supportive.

First, National Suicide Prevention Month (NSPM) also includes National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day. What's the difference?

National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) falls on the week surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day. This week puts even more focus on the topic of suicide, and there is a variety of active resource promotion and personal stories from both survivors and family and friends. The week is filled with information on the statistics, the signs to watch for, and support for those who suffer with suicidal idealizations. This year NSPW will be from September 9-15.

World Suicide Prevention Day falls on September 10, and as the name states, it is a global event. Suicide impacts every country and every culture, so on this day we come together to remember those who have fought and lost the battle to suicide.

There is no limit to what you can do as an individual. Anyone is welcome to put out their own story about their personal struggle, or talk passionately about the loved ones who left too soon. Even if suicide has never touched your life, you can still be an ally in the fight against the stigma.

Know the number to call for help (1-800-273-TALK(8255)). This is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, and whether you've never needed to call or you've dialed the number a hundred times, just know what it is. Share it. If you know someone struggling and they just won't open up, share that number so if the need arises, they can turn to someone, anyone. And if you just can't talk, there is now a texting option-you can access the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Many people like to represent their cause with ribbons or wristbands with colors corresponding to the cause. For suicide prevention awareness those colors are typically turquoise and purple, although sometimes yellow is also used. You can wear these colors, write them on your arms, or post a photo or graphic with the colors to social media along with a story or a call to action.

Check out your local area for organizations you can volunteer with. There's no such thing as too much help!

If you're a person with a big voice and isn't afraid to use it, great! Shout it to the rooftops! Lend a hand anywhere and everywhere! Blow up social media, get the truth out. Talk to anyone and everyone who needs a friend, or needs help to understand. Use that extroverted energy to make a difference in the world.

And for those with the small, shy voices. Small efforts make big changes. Be a listener when someone needs to talk. Indirectly share the resources you come across; they may be useful to someone who is to afraid to ask. Make donations to organizations that are leading the fight. It may seem small to you, but it can mean the world to someone else.

I guess my point here is that during National Suicide Prevention Month, and even every other day of the year, there is something you- anyone- can do. It's a taboo topic, and I myself feel strange writing about it. Will it ever get easier? Probably not, but we can learn to make bigger efforts in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. Inform yourself and inform others. Watch and care for each other. Pick up the phone and check on your friends. Most of all, listen, even if you don't quite understand. That could be the one difference that saves a life.


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