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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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By Savannah Roberson | sroberson8@radford.edu

September is an important month, and though it may not be widely known, it’s a month that encourages people to not only raise awareness but to save lives.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time in which we are all encouraged to stand up, raise awareness, and fight against the event that takes the lives of over 41,000 of our friends and families each year, according to nami.org.

Even if you do not know someone personally who has taken their own life, we all have heard stories relatively near us that involve suicide or attempted suicide.

While this reality may seem hard to grasp, even harder to grasp is the fact that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America and that for every person who commits suicide, 25 more people will attempt to take their lives, as afsp.org says.

While it may seem quite difficult to imagine those nearest to us ever contemplating suicide, this is the very mindset that can be so dangerous to those around us.

One of the first steps to combatting the increased rates of suicide is raising our awareness of those around us. Essentially, we have to pay close attention to our friends, families, co-workers, and even strangers around us that may be either acting strangely or simply different than they normally do.

After we become consciously aware of paying more attention to those around us, we need to educate ourselves on warning signs.

According to cdc.gov, some warning signs of suicide might include “feelings of hopelessness, threatening to hurt oneself or talking about wanting to die, increased alcohol and drug use, or withdrawal from friends and family.”

If you begin to notice any of these signs or suspect that someone you know may be experiencing these feelings or any others that might worry you, it’s important to talk with them, counsel them, or help them find someone that can help them.

It’s important to remember that often, the sooner, the better. It’s much more likely that you’ll be able to help someone and even possibly save their life if you do something rather than nothing.

So, what exactly does National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month involve? Well, for starters, it involves an increased sense of unity and a strengthening of relationships among mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members, according to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Even though we should always focus on raising suicide awareness and should be collectively working towards lowering suicide rates year-round, September is a month to learn more, engage further, and become an active and involved advocate of suicide prevention.

To successfully destroy the stigma of suicide conversation and begin to truly lower the number of suicides we are seeing each year, it will take all of us to consciously work towards the goal of making sure anyone who might be contemplating suicide knows that there is always help and there is always hope.

Whether this comes through the form of a friend, a parent, a sibling, a therapist, or even a complete stranger, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is an opportunity for us all to learn more about what we can do to counter this tragic and terrifying epidemic.

Photo Credit: (J W on Unsplash)

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