It’s September finally! Which means it’s getting cooler, the trees are going to start getting all sexy, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING (I actually I am not on the pumpkin spice train..I’m more of a hazelnut to be honest), Halloween is right around the corner and it’s HOODIE weather!
So yeah, September I’m ready for you and all your glorious-ness!
This month has something else to offer though….
Something more important than cool breezes and warm jackets. You may or may not be aware that September is national suicide prevention awareness month.
Yes. We’re going to talk about suicide prevention today. We’re going to talk about it because more people NEED to.
Let me start by saying that I am not a professional or a counselor or a volunteer or an analyst. I don’t have any credibility other than the fact that I am a compassionate and empathetic human being. I’m not going to throw a bunch of facts in your direction (although I will include resources) Mostly because I only have a vague idea of facts/data surrounding suicide and while I know that the research on the topic is very important, it is not what I want to focus on in this post because I want to just get straight to the heart of the matter and I don’t want this message to get lost in that data. The message I want to get out first and foremost is this:
People (a LOT of people) are struggling with thoughts of wanting to end their lives…and YOU can help them.
YOU. The person sitting here reading this post…YOU have the opportunity to save someone’s life. How incredible is that?
Think about it…What would you do, if you were walking on a busy street and the person next to you was about to step out in front of a car coming around the corner? Would you pull them back? Would you yell for them to stop? I hope that your answer is that you would do SOMETHING to get their attention…or more importantly, give them YOUR attention.
That’s what this month is all about. Prevention. Awareness. Attention. Empathy. Compassion. Understanding.
I recently attended a screening for a film called “The Listeners” directed and produced by Bob Hurst. The film documents the process of a select group of volunteers who are being trained to work in crisis call centers. Here is a link to the trailer and I would highly recommend you to watch the film in it’s entirety!
What I found to be most moving about the film was that these “listeners” were just regular people. They did not have previous training, they were not chosen because of their academics/recommendations/credentials etc…they were chosen because of their innate ability to show compassion and patience for others…and they literally had no motive other than just wanting to show up every day to make a difference in people’s lives. How AMAZING! I was also blown away by how much effort and time goes into this particular training and it is incredible that there are people in this world who are willing to take time out of their day and make sure that the quality of their work is outstanding.
It is inspiring to see people motivated every day by helping others, strangers even. Volunteering is a great way to get involved but there are plenty of other ways you can reach out and join the fight to prevent suicide that don’t require much effort but rather a small amount of courage. Instead of listing all of those things here I’m going to save the space and compound it into a nice little link here that you can click to give you all kinds of information on how you can get involved with this cause.
This is the link for the national suicide prevention lifeline website. You can find out ways to get involved in your community, how to talk to someone who is struggling with suicide and just learn more in general about what you can do to help someone (or yourself) today.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as messaging someone who seems to be having a rough day and telling them you understand. Validate people’s feelings instead of ignoring them. It can be uncomfortable but put your own discomfort aside and be vulnerable to someone else’s emotions and pain.
Share your own story with them. We connect best with people who have had the same struggles we have. If you’ve ever had an awful day, or felt completely alone…then chances are you are more than qualified to help someone else work through those issues as well. Make sure to LISTEN though. It is great to tell other people that we have been in their shoes but it is important to remember that they are there NOW…so let them be there and allow them to fully express what they’re going through and just be that safe place they can take comfort.
Another great wait to get involved is a campaign that has been gaining attention since it was created in 2015 by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
#Bethe1to “is designed to illustrate ways people are keeping themselves and others safe from suicide, while informing the public as to how we can all act to prevent suicide.”
This is right up your alley if you are more “social media” inclined and it’s SO easy to spread awareness by doing the things you’re already doing; getting on facebook/twitter/instagram. Here is the link to learn more about the hashtag and how it can bring awareness and save lives!
No matter which way you look at it, the idea is very simple in discussing the issue of suicide. We don’t want any more lives lost. We have to do everything we can to make sure we are paying attention and being active in this cause to end suicide. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we have to hold on to eachother.
I hope you can take something away from this post and PLEASE SHARE so that we can get the word out about Suicide Awareness.
For those of you dealing with mental illness/suicide/depression/anxiety…reach out and please know that you are loved and cared about. For those of you who have been affected by any of these illnesses whether personal or otherwise…help.
Thanks for reading! Love you all!